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August 22, 2016

Driverless flying cars could be here in 10 years, says Airbus

News: The aircraft manufacturer plans to test a flying prototype of the vehicle in late 2017.

By CBR Staff Writer

Airbus has come up with plans to develop autonomous flying cars which can carry both parcels and humans and help avoid traffic congestion.

By taking to air, Airbus says that the hassles of traffic can be completely avoided, helping commuters reach their destinations much faster.

According to Airbus, by 2030 60% of the world population could live in cities, which is 10% more than today. Increased urbanisation, it believes, will continue far into the future and commuting will be a major challenge.

At present, big cities like San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Mumbai, Manila, Tokyo and others are experiencing heavy traffic jams, which waste several days every year. Airbus is planning to develop autonomous flying vehicles under the A3 project called Vahana.

Tests of the flying vehicle prototype are scheduled in late 2017.

The project’s lead Rodin Lyasoff says that most of the technology needed for the vehicle such as batteries, motors and avionics are already present. The vehicle will also be equipped with a highly reliable and robust sense-and-avoid technology.

He also noted that at present, this technology is being deployed in cars, but it could be a challenge to make the technology work on flying vehicles.

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According to Airbus, one possible sector to deploy this technology could be ride-hailing and transport service companies. The system could easily work on the ride-sharing platform, where smartphones can be used for booking a vehicle.

Lyasoff said: “We believe that global demand for this category of aircraft can support fleets of millions of vehicles worldwide.”

With a target of producing millions of vehicles, the company says that costs will go down rapidly, making market penetration easier.

Lyasoff added:  “In as little as ten years, we could have products on the market that revolutionise urban travel for millions of people.”

The challenges that are involved with flying vehicles has also been put forward by Airbus Helicopters official Burno Trabel said: “No country in the world today allows drones without remote pilots to fly over cities – with or without passengers.”

Airbus says that the current regulatory constraints need to evolve so that new technologies like these could be tested thoroughly.

Airbus Helicopters recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to test drone parcel delivery service at the National University of Singapore campus in 2017.


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