Boeing enters the autonomous flying taxi race with first successful test flight

boeing flying taxi first test flight av
Boeing

There are plenty of startups trying to launch their own flying taxi projects, but now that the concept has been proven, the big boys and girls are getting ready to make their move. One of them, multinational aerospace giant Boeing, has just completed the first test flight for its very own vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) electric air taxi. The test “flight” took place this week at an airport just outside the nation’s capital. No one was aboard for the test, which lasted less than a minute and involved the air taxi hovering at an unspecified height over the runway.

Long term, the plan is for Boeing’s vehicles to be able to transport passengers a maximum of 50 miles at a time. Clearly, there’s a ways to go before we reach that point and can catch a Boeing flying taxi to the office. Nonetheless, this demonstration is certainly a step — or, at least, a stationary hover — in the right direction.

“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative, and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.”

Boeing hasn’t yet given a name to its latest flying vehicle, which it refers to as a passenger air vehicle. Unlike Boeing planes, there will be no pilot for the flying taxi. Instead, flights will be piloted autonomously, similar to a number of other similar projects. Boeing hasn’t revealed how many passengers the 30-foot-long craft will be able to transport at one time, but it’s likely to be a maximum of one or two. Boeing is also reportedly working on a larger vehicle capable of transporting a maximum cargo of 500 pounds.

As noted, Boeing is far from the only company working in this area. Other big names, including Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Uber, along with the Kitty Hawk Flyer project backed by Google co-founder Larry Page, are all competing to become the leader in this exciting new field. Boeing may be slightly late to the party, but its deep pockets and experienced Research and Development division could absolutely make up for it.

Product Review

Yuneec’s Mantis Q will make you wish you bought a DJI drone

Yuneec’s high-end drones are arguably the ones to beat in terms of flight control, design, and their photographic capabilities. But the company has struggled to make a low-end drone that’s worth buying, and the Mantis Q is proof of that…
Business

Singapore Airlines passengers unsettled by cameras in seat-back displays

A number of passengers flying with Singapore Airlines recently expressed concern over cameras embedded in seat-back displays on some of its aircraft, though the carrier insists the devices have been disabled.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

The 10 most expensive drones that you (a civilian) can buy

OK, these drones may be a bit beyond your budget: Check out the most expensive drones in the world, from industrial giants to highest-end filming tools.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…