Traffic during rush-hour is an ever-growing issue for commuters.
With 60 per cent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2030, the problem is only going to get worse.
But there may be good news that could cut commute times right down. Airbus is designing a fleet of self-flying taxis in the hopes of relieving urban congestion.
The aircraft manufacturer says the flying taxis will be called CityAirbus and that passengers will be able summon them with their smartphone.
Airbus says that the biggest challenging in creating the CityAirbus taxi, will be making it fly autonomously.
The taxi will first be operated by a pilot, but will fly itself once national regulations allow it.
‘Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,’ Rodin Lyasoff, the Airbus executive in charge of the project, said.
This is just starting to be introduced in cars, but no examples of it for aircraft currently exist.
‘That’s one of the bigger challenges we aim to resolve as early as possible,’ said Lyasoff.
The company thinks one way it could work would be for group vehicles, similar to car-sharing.
‘We believe that global demand for this category of aircraft can support fleets of millions of vehicles worldwide,’ Lyasoff said.
‘In as little as ten years, we could have products on the market that revolutionise urban travel for millions of people.’
Officially underway since February, the project’s team of internal and external developers and partners have agreed on a vehicle design and is beginning to build and test vehicle subsystems.
As well as flying taxis, Airbus is also creating an electric, autonomous helicopter in a plan called Project Vahana.
The idea is that the helicopter can be used for both commercial and personal use.
Airbus hopes to conduct its first flight tests on the University of Singapore campus by 2017.
Rodin Lyasoff, Airbus’ lead engineer on Project Vahana, said: ‘Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there.’
While it might currently seem like something out of a science fiction film, Airbus CEO, Tom Enders, said: ‘It’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky.
‘In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door – without any pilot.’
In February, Airbus also announced a new project called ‘Skyways’ in which they are creating a drone parcel-delivery system above the University of Singapore campus.
The team hopes by demonstrating the safe operation of Skyways, this could help shape the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft system operations, and potentially increase acceptance for passenger flight testing.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk