Airbus has joined the leagues of small start-up companies aiming to get flying cars off the ground

An Airbus flying car prototype will take to the skies by the end of 2017 if CEO Tom Enders’ timescale goes to plan.

The A^3 Project Vahana team is currently working on a prototype of the brand’s first ‘piloted flying vehicle platform for individual passenger and cargo transport’, as it is described by Airbus.

Read more: Uber plans autonomous electric flying car

The project has been underway since February 2016, but this is the first time such a specific timeframe has been applied.

Rodin Lyasoff, CEO of Airbus’s A^3 branch, highlighted some of the challenges the Silicon Valley-based A^3 team faces, saying: “Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there.”

This suggests that not only will Airbus’s prototype fly, it’ll be electrically powered too. Lyasoff aims the final ‘car’ to join the numerous mobility schemes planned by car manufacturers across the industry. “The system could operate similarly to car-sharing applications, with the use of smartphones to book a vehicle.”

The largest barrier to entry, says Vahana, is the lack of AEB-type ‘sense and avoid’ technology for airborne vehicles. “That’s one of the bigger challenges we aim to resolve as early as possible.”

Read more: PAL-V Liberty aims to be world’s first road and air-legal flying car

Depending on the range of the flying electric vehicles, A^3’s vision for a flying car could put strain on Airbus’s main area of business; commercial passenger aircraft.

This end-of-year target for the working prototype suggests that the car could make an appearance at next year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

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Comments
7

16 January 2017
Not really a flying car though is it? It's a personal mobility device, which is something entirely different. The inherent problems with designing a flying car was that it had to do two very different jobs. Like training to be a chef and an accountant. This Airbus device is just a small helicopter/large drone and has zero in common with a car.

16 January 2017
Not really a flying car though is it? It's a personal mobility device, which is something entirely different. The inherent problems with designing a flying car was that it had to do two very different jobs. Like training to be a chef and an accountant. This Airbus device is just a small helicopter/large drone and has zero in common with a car.

16 January 2017
The flying car is about ten years away and always will be.

17 January 2017
Humans can hardly drive safely on the ground. Imagine 1 000 cars flying across the neighbourhood at any one time. Even "self-piloted". Cars should never leave the ground.
Me.

17 January 2017
Why use a flying car in car mode. To visit my mother for instance? If the A13, M25 and A23 are all traffic free it takes me about an hour. Going through London - if traffic free - about an hour. If flying in a straight line at 60MPH it would take 14 minutes. So why would I ever drive?

 

17 January 2017
Just took on a whole new menace

what's life without imagination

18 January 2017
Electric? Fuck off. It's bad enough having a dollop of seagull shit land on one's shoulder. Electric flying (or not) cars are going nowhere.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

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