With traffic in global metro cities getting mad every passing day, aviation giant Airbus believes that it could come up with a solution. The French firm asks, why sit idle in traffic when you can just fly over it!
Commercial and personal aircraft maker Airbus is in the midst of planning a new self piloted Flying Car Prototype. According to Airbus CEO Tom Enders, this would help in easing the traffic situation in urban areas specifically in megacities of Los Angeles, New York and London.The global mega-cities are growing in population steadily and this leads to omnipresent traffic jams.
The Airbus Flying Car concept is an autonomous flying vehicle platform concept which is currently being developed at the company’s Silicon Valley tech centre called the A3. The concept is developed under the leadership of Rodin Lyasoff, project executive, Airbus.
The project has been officially underway since February 2016 and the company says it is looking to build the first prototypes as early end of this year. Internal and external developers in addition to partners have agreed on a vehicle design. The company has started building and testing of vehicle sub-systems.
Airbus plans the new Flying Car on the same lines as the present ride hailing schemes which have been growing in popularity. It will serve as a means for customers to book personal or multiple rider aircrafts via an app that will take users way above the traffic congesting. This sort of transport service will not only easy the traffic situation but is also pegged at being a cleaner means of transportation easing the pollution problem in larger metros.
While initially the company plans on prototype for single person transportation, larger flying cars could be seen at a later stage. Airbus will be working along with cities and airports in order to plan bus style stations where from customers can book these vehicles and take to the skies.
The company has also formed a new division called “Urban Air Mobility” with helicopter style vehicles to carry multiple riders. Elders adds that it is being done on an experimental basis even though Airbus has yet to develop technology that will allow these vehicles to avoid collision when flying, which as on date is a top priority.Airbus is also working on Skyways last mile urban delivery solution at NUS, Singapore.
Lyasoff says that in as little as 10 years, Airbus could have autonomous flying vehicles on the market to revolutionalize urban transport. He says that vital technologies like batteries, motors, and avionics, are mostly there but Vahana needs a reliable sense-and-avoid technology. While such systems are slowly started appearing in cars, there is no mature airborne solutions yet. That will be one of the primary focus areas of Airbus’ development.
The Airbus flying vehicle concept will target transport operators. The platform can spawn single seater, multi-seater as well as cargo variants. Considering that by 2030, 60% of global population will be living in cities (10% more than what it is now), Airbus believes that there will be demand for the Vahana in millions.