Think of Uber, but with autonomous flying cars
The term 'flying car' was coined by Airbus CEO Tom Enders, who said his company is looking at ways to create an airborne car-sharing scheme.
Reuters reports that Airbus wants to test a self-flying prototype that would enable passengers to fully stir away from the choking gridlocks so common in more and more cities.
Those fed up with rush-hour traffic would request a flying taxi via a smartphone app.
Even more important, the official says his hopes are that a prototype would make a flight demonstration by the end of 2017.
He also added that the Vahana project finds itself in "an experimentation phase" at the moment, but Airbus takes "this development very seriously."
According to the same media outlet, the company's rationale is that by switching to flying fleets and exploiting the space above our heads, municipalities could shake off the enormous investments currently swallowed by roads, bridges, junctions and tunnels.
We'll just have to wait and see if their goal is achievable or current plans will go down like Icarus. In the meantime, Rodin Lyasoff, A^3 CEO and one of the coordinators behind the Vahana platform thinks that such an ambitious plan could work out.
“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there.”
However, the bigger challenges are crucial aspects like the so-called "sense and avoid technologies." Similar to the self-governing hardware and software starting to find a way in cars recently, these solutions are yet to equip flying vehicles.
But that's just one mountain to climb. Laws, regulations, and protocols must be thoroughly formulated before we let self-flying taxis float over our heads and between buildings while they carry passengers from A to B.