Airbus’ Futuristic Flying Taxi Just Took Its First Public Flight
You know that scene in Back to the Future: Part II where they travelled to the year 2015 and realised flying cars were the norm? And then we got to 2015 and realised there was no chance of that happening anytime soon?
Well, it looks like we might be about to eat our own words as Airbus’ new ‘flying taxi’ has just taken to the skies for its first ever public flight.
Admittedly, it’s not a flying taxi as we might be imagining it to be – you know, just an ordinary-looking taxi that can, well, fly – instead looking more like a futuristic helicopter with a few extra bits and bobs attached.
Which is no surprise when you take into account the fact it’s being developed by Airbus’ helicopter division, which is hoping to kick-start a new era of intra-city travel with its very own flying taxis.
Named CityAirbus, the new eVTOL took to the skies on July 20 during a demonstration flight for Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder, who had travelled to Airbus’ facility in Bavaria, Germany.
Although the aircraft first flew independently in December, this was the first time it had gone airborne in front of public officials and the media – and it did so successfully.
Its futuristic design includes four ducted propulsion units that will power the aircraft – two on each side of the vehicle – as well as eight motors and eight propellers.
These motors, which are Siemens SP200D, offer a top speed of around 75 miles per hour, meaning the flying taxis move only slightly faster than the average car travelling on a motorway.
Obviously the CityAirbus has a much greater advantage than your average car though, as it can take more direct routes and avoid roadway congestion. The dream.
The one downside is that the electric aircraft can only fly for around 15 minutes with a projected range of around 60 miles.
Going beyond this limited range would mean the CityAirbus would have to undergo a lengthy recharge, which can take up to an hour until battery technology advances which would be able to bring charge times down.
As such, the eVTOL is only capable of short hops within cities, not between them – something which, in fairness, is absolutely perfect for its taxi function.
The aircraft can carry four passengers with no need for a cockpit, as the aim is for Airbus’ eVTOLs to fly completely autonomously in the future – without a pilot. However, initial plans call for CityAirbus to be a remotely-piloted aircraft.
I don’t know about you guys, but the thought of getting into a flying vehicle without a pilot is making me shudder just a tad. But hey, its first public flight was a success, so here’s hoping they continue to be.
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