Airbus intends to test flying car before the end of the year, CEO says

airbus test flying car surface studio focus v2
Cities are growing worldwide and traffic as we know it will only get worse. Airbus Group’s urban air mobility division predicts that by 2030, 60 percent of the population will live in cities, up from 50 percent today. The aircraft giant, second in size only to Boeing, is developing three separate solutions to urban congestion and they all look to the skies. Airbus is working on a single-passenger vehicle, package delivery drones, and autonomous buses.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders spoke about the company’s projects in Munich at the DLD conference where he told attendees he hopes the company will demonstrate a single person flying vehicle by year’s end, Reuters reported. “One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground. We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously. With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads.”

Calling on the corporate experience with commercial helicopters and making the most of emerging autonomous driving and artificial intelligence technologies, Enders continued, “If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business.”

Vahana, a single-passenger, self-piloted vehicle, is the Airbus concept for a flying car, seen as a viable solution for gridlocked commuters. This is the vehicle Enders wants to test by the end of 2017 and according to division CEO Rodin Lyasoff, it’s totally feasible.

“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,” Lyasoff said. He also stated that “reliable sense-and-avoid technology,” just showing up now in cars, is one of their target challenges. The Vahana platform could be used for carsharing, with worldwide demand in the millions of vehicles. “In as little as 10 years, we could have products on the market that revolutionize urban travel for millions of people.” Subsystem tests are already underway for Vahana.

airbus test flying car

The Airbus Skyways project envisions huge fleets of parcel delivery drones. Airbus isn’t going into the package delivery business but sees retailers like Amazon and delivery services like DHL as potential Skyways customers.

CityAirbus is the Airbus concept for a multiple-passenger, electrically-operated flying vehicle. The actual design is being kept secret, but the concept would use multiple propellers and look like a relatively small drone. At first, the CityAirbus transports would have pilot operators — to speed market acceptance. From the outset, however, the plan is for CityAirbus to be a fully autonomous vehicle, ahead of and waiting for enabling regulations and legislation that allow it to fly pilot-free.

Airbus isn’t waiting around for some other company or group to be the first in the flying vehicle business. According to Jorg Muller, from Airbus’ corporate development department, “This market will develop quickly once we are able to deploy the first vehicles in megacities and demonstrate the benefits of quiet, emission-free air transport at competitive prices.”

Cars

How autonomous ridesharing will reshape our cars, cities, and lives

Ridesharing is a growing phenomenon, and it’s closely linked with developments in autonomous and connectivity technology. In the coming decades, shared mobility will even change the way cities around the world develop.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Emerging Tech

Watch this giant ‘Lego’ helicopter drone take to the skies

Adam Woodworth loves to build flying machines. His latest effort is a "Lego" helicopter created mainly from polystyrene foam, and which comes with a tiny drone attached to help get it airborne.
Emerging Tech

A treasure trove of 3D scientific specimens is now free to see online

Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences, you can access more than 700 scientific specimens and artifacts from the world-class collection via the online 3D and virtual reality platform Sketchfab.
Emerging Tech

Lyd is a battery-powered, ‘no-spill’ bottle that is activated by your lips

Lyd is a battery-powered bottle that’s something like a sippy cup for adults. Its no-spill solution is a specialized lid that uses an algorithm to detect when your lips are on the bottle.
Emerging Tech

Cotton and corn! Reebok’s newest sneaker is ‘made from things that grow’

Keen to move away from using oil-based materials to make its footwear, Reebok has turned to cotton and corn for its latest sneaker. No dyes have been used to color the shoes, either, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
Computing

Apple AR glasses will launch in 2020, says respected industry analyst

Apple AR glasses may be closer to reality than we thought. Here is everything we know so far about the augmented reality system, including the rumored specifications of Apple's Project Mirrorshades.
Emerging Tech

A new way to ‘freeze’ water could help transform organ preservation

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a way of keeping water as a liquid at temperatures far below freezing. Here's why that could help transform organ preservation.
Emerging Tech

Meet the Mantis Q: A drone you can control by yelling, waving, or even smiling

"Mantis, take a picture." Yuneec's new consumer drone, the Yuneec Mantis Q, responds to voice commands along with gestures and smiles. The 4K drone also integrates several different flight modes and safety features inside a one-pound…
Emerging Tech

This robot arm could soon recharge your electric car, no driver effort required

Researchers in Austria have developed a smart robotic charger that can automatically plug itself into any electric vehicle, no driver effort required whatsoever. What could be simpler?
Emerging Tech

Police body cams are scarily easy to hack into and manipulate, researcher finds

Nuix cybersecurity expert Josh Mitchell has demonstrated how it is possible to hack into and potentially manipulate footage from police body cams. The really scary part? It's shockingly easy.
Emerging Tech

Scientists try to trick brains of amputees with phantom limb syndrome

New research might help some amputees better mesh what they see with what they feel. In a recently published paper, researchers show how an amputee’s brain can be tricked into believing a prosthetic hand belongs to their own body.
Emerging Tech

Los Angeles subway to become first in the U.S. to use body scanners

Los Angeles is set to become the first city in the U.S. to use body scanners on its subway. The machines are portable and quick to set up, and can check around 2,000 people an hour without causing lines or delays for passengers.