With the possibility of air taxis, the future is certainly now (or a couple years from now).
According to Fortune, Airbus has just released the first look at its four-seat prototype, which could be flying high within the next few years. If it becomes a reality, it could take the dynamic of traveling to new heights as it’s faster than a car, a step up from public transportation and a lot quieter than a helicopter.
So, what does the future look like with flying cars and the option to catch a cab from the skies? We thought you’d never ask.
What Are eVTOLs?
Electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles, or eVTOLs, are the most recent craze that could very well change the way urban transportation is viewed.
Air taxis are said to cut down the time it takes to travel heavily congested cities like New York City and Los Angeles. Fortune reports a 45-minute trip from downtown Manhattan to JFK International Airport could easily become five minutes. It’s stats like these that are pushing developing countries to become more onboard with the services that air taxis have to offer.
“We see the need to change the way we are traveling in cities,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopter, during a company event on Tuesday, according to Fortune. “Based on all our experience, past and current, we are convinced we are well-positioned to lead this future market.”
What Will The Airbus Look Like?
The CityAirbus NextGen will feature fixed wings, a split tail section and eight electrically powered propellers. Per the company, the method of transportation will be able to reach a cruising speed of 120 kilometers per hour (100 mph).
“We’ve spent hundreds of thousands of engineering hours on all aspects of eVTOL design, starting from structural mechanics to aerodynamics and electric propulsion,” said Jörg Müller, the company’s head of urban mobility.
With a landing noise that’s most audible to human ears, the Airbus will top out at about 70 decibels, which according to Fortune is “low enough to blend in with the sound of everyday traffic.”
It was also noted that human operators take up space that could be used to transport other paying customers. With that said, the overall goal for the eVTOL is to maneuver itself by computer.
“We are targeting self-piloted autonomous flight,” Müller said. “This will progressively come, and we’ll introduce it step-by-step so that at a certain point these vehicles fly fully autonomously. Until then, we’ll fly them with a pilot, of course.”
When Will It Take Flight?
Its first flight is scheduled in 2023, but the CityAirbus NextGen is anticipated to be up and running by 2025.
The company also shared that the Airbus eVTOL is to meet the highest standards for safety certification set out by European aviation regulator EASA.