Airbus plans first flying car for 2017: it's the Uber of the skies

By Chris Chamberlin, August 25 2016
Airbus plans first flying car for 2017: it's the Uber of the skies

Airbus will begin testing its first prototype flying car next year in a move that could reshape the short distance transport market currently served by taxis and rideshare services such as Uber.

Dubbed ‘CityAirbus’ and capable of vertical take-offs and landings, the vehicle would be piloted by a human at first to comply with existing regulations – similar to a helicopter – but it’s visioned to eventually become self-flying and fully automated as laws adapt over time.

While individuals could certainly buy them for their own private use, Airbus is focused on the sharing economy and providing rides for paying passengers.

Customers would use an app to book their CityAirbus journey, proceed to the nearest helipad where the aircraft could stop and then climb aboard to reach their destination.

“A flight would cost nearly the equivalent of a normal taxi ride for each passenger, but would be faster, more environmentally sustainable and exciting,” Airbus says.

“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky,” adds Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders.

“In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door – without any pilot.”

Prior to CityAirbus test flights, the company will trial drone-based delivery of parcels at the National University of Singapore from mid-2017.

The trial will see the drones travelling along pre-determined flight paths, with multiple drones operating at once and mobile-based notifications being sent to package recipients: alerting them when their parcel is ready to collect from a smaller-scale landing pad.

[Click the image above to enlarge it.]

Once Airbus has ironed-out the kinks, the trial will be expanded to ships at the Port of Singapore where drones will deliver parcels from dry land onto cargo vessels, ready for delivery by sea mail.

As to when the project makes that big leap from flying parcels onto landing pads to ferrying passengers across large cities? We’ll find out soon enough.

Also read: Airbus partners with Uber for on-demand helicopters

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

25 Jul 2013

Total posts 56

Next year? That's pretty amazing. What is this going to do to our skies!

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

10 Nov 2015

Total posts 6

'“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not ....” adds Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders.'

Airbus ruined it. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

26 Feb 2016

Total posts 101

Tell me what this thing is good on, comparing to a conveyor belt system.  Maybe it is good on alluring more investors to pour money into the company?

F8
F8

04 Sep 2012

Total posts 72

Pigs might fly too (although emissions could be a problem)

sgb
sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

Have Airbus Industries merged with Spacely's Space Sprockets or Cogswell's Cosmic Cogs? Sounds very 'Jetsons' to me. Lets just hope they have J class.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

04 Nov 2011

Total posts 352

I will only partake if I can get SC.

Delta

22 Mar 2015

Total posts 13

Can we please not use the uber to describe something.  That appalling company is about as awful as a company can be.  When you describe something as uber, it means you have no ethics, responsibility nor humanity.  If this is what you are making it will crash and burn.

08 Oct 2011

Total posts 49

Besides the engineering challenges there are also safety and security issues to consider.  How high do these city 'air busses' fly? Who are qualified to fly them? Will passengers be subjected to security screening like at the airport? If not,  how easy is it for terrorist to hijack these air busses?  Given these considerations will it be practical at all? 

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

03 Sep 2014

Total posts 8

I'm away in Thailand retired so I have lost track of time. I had to look at calendar to make sure it wasn't the 1st of April when I read this article stating it will be operational in 2017.

Eli
Eli

30 Jul 2015

Total posts 100

2017 in another dimension ....or on another plane/planet

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

3017?

09 Apr 2015

Total posts 5

What sort of parcels with the drones deliver? The only drones I've seen can't stay aloft for too long and can't carry much weight.  Seems like only a matter of time untill someone gets killed by a falling package or crashing drone.  Then what? 


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Airbus plans first flying car for 2017: it's the Uber of the skies