Last year, Airbus unveiled its plans to create a fleet of self-flying taxis to help commuters avoid the ever-growing issue of traffic during rush-hour, and have now revealed they plans to test their first single-person prototype by the end of 2017.
“We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously”, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said at the DLD digital tech conference in Munich, adding that Airbus recognised such technologies would have to be clean to avoid further polluting congested cities. He said using the skies could also reduce costs for city infrastructure planners. “With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads”, he said. Mr Enders said Airbus, as the world’s largest maker of commercial helicopters, wanted to invest to make the most of new technologies such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, to usher in what amounts to an era of flying cars.
“In as little as ten years, we could have products on the market that revolutionise urban travel for millions of people.” In February, Airbus also announced a new project called ‘Skyways’ in which it is 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.
Once you’ve accepted random strangers driving you via Uber, could you make the leap to random robotic tech flying you to your destination…?