No, this is not a hoax. The idea of a self-flying taxi has come from Airbus, the second largest aeronautical company in the world. Project “Vahana” plans to create an autonomous passenger drone network, or in other words, ‘self-flying taxis.’
Airbus intends to start testing it this year. Rodin Lyasoff, an Airbus engineer, says,
“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors, and avionics are most the way there.
People will book a seat on a CityAirbus drone called “zenHop,” and then move to the helipad “zenHub” for boarding. Next, the flying taxis will take them to their desired destinations. It will cost them same as a regular taxi, as the concept is based on ride-sharing. Luggage will be delivered by a different vessel known as zenLuggage. The entire system will be kept safe from hacks by zenCyber.
Airbus said that the design for the multi-rotor electric CityAirbus aircraft “has been kept under the wraps,” but the artist’s impression of the concept is available on the site. The company’s Helicopter subsidiary has been working on the project for more than two years.
“The design could soon become a reality without having to wait for too many regulatory changes,” according to Airbus’ press release.
Airbus is working on another project that involves a drone delivery system. They are hoping to begin its testing soon in collaboration with the Singapore University. The vehicles will carry the cargo across automated routes, and also send delivery notifications to the customers after dropping off the packages. The objective is to,
“potentially increase acceptance for passenger flight testing, thus giving a boost to urban air vehicle projects,” according to Airbus.
Although the idea of an electric drone is not a new one, concept models have been released by EHang already, and the flight has been tested by Volocopter. However, Airbus has a higher chance of turning this into a feasible reality with thousands of workers and engineers.
“Our group’s strength is that we have interconnected projects that together are helping to drive the upcoming revolution,” says developer Jörg Müller.
The plan is to launch the flying taxis with pilots and gradually shift to autonomous flying once certain technologies and rules are finalized. Although it seems like we might soon be in the world of Jetsons cartoon, we will not get our hopes high till we see those flying taxis with our own eyes.
Do you think flying taxis are soon going to be a reality? Comment below!