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Airbus to Develop a Vertical Takeoff Airplane Next Year

Vertical takeoff aircraft: Will we be driving cars like those ones in ‘The Jetsons’?


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Vertical Takeoff Airplane

To be able to create and ride flying cars has been a dream of many people, and different companies for decades now. We’ve definitely seen concepts of these flying cars on sci-fi films, but there still hasn’t been a realistic one up to the present. When it was known that Larry Page, the co-founder of Google was funding a pair of flying car startups such as Kitty Hawk and Zee.Aero, the concept of having a realistic flying car became alive in many people’s imaginations once more. Numerous companies are working on their own prototypes.

Source: Daily Express

Airbus, the French aerospace giant, revealed recently that they have a flying-car project. They call the futuristic air-vehicle, Vahana—a single-manned, autonomously piloted aircraft which is capable of taking off and landing vertically! If you can’t imagine this, try remembering the cars in the 90’s cartoon series, The Jetsons. You could also relate this to Marty McFly’s car in Back To The Future.

The futuristic aircraft will have eight rotors on two sets of wings, wherein both of which will be tilting depending on whether the aircraft will fly vertically or horizontally. Vahana has room for a single passenger under a canopy which retracts like a visor. Just looking at the design gives you the feel of how far we’ve gone in technology and that the future is right here, now! According to CNN Money, the aircraft will be deployed like a taxi, which makes it the air-taxi version of Uber.

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The origin of the projects name, Vahana, came from the Sanskrit word which referred to the vehicle or mount of a god. The name may seem ancient for such a futuristic vehicle, but its meaning seems perfect for a majestic ride!

The project was launched in early 2016 as part of the first pursuits of A³, the Silicon Valley arm of Airbus. According to the startup’s CEO Rodin Lyasoff in a Medium post, “Beyond developing the vehicle itself. We’re seeking to move key technology categories forward, foster development of the regulatory regime for the certification and operation of automated aircraft, and to otherwise nurture an ecosystem that will help enable the vertical cities of the future.”

Source: Business Traveller

Airbus is one of the best known manufacturers of large jetliners just like their double decker A380. Taking up this flying car project could be one of their most challenging projects yet. Not only is it a high concept design—it has never been done before. But if they will be able to succeed, this project will definitely revolutionize the way we travel!

According to Lyasoff, his team of engineers, designers, as well as robotics experts are aiming to fly a full-sized prototype before 2017 ends, and to hopefully have a “productizable demonstrator” by the year 2020.

THE IMPRACTICALITIES OF FLYING CARS

Having a flying car may seem cool, because that’s how we see them on sci-fi films, but there are a lot of factors about flying cars that make them impractical. Airspace in North America and Europe is very strictly regulated, this makes it extremely difficult for any company to get permission for commercial flight. Also, the idea of having an autonomous aircraft may probably surprise many passengers and make them feel uneasy.

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According to Lyasoff, pilotless flying cars is a dream that is attainable. Also, robot aircrafts are cheaper to produce. “Full automation also enables us to make our aircraft as small and light as possible, and will significantly reduce manufacturing costs,” Lyasoff says.

If ever something goes wrong in the flight, the Vahana will be equipped with “a ballistic parachute that works even at low altitudes.”

This ground-breaking technology which may revolutionize the way we travel is definitely worth the wait!

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Engr. Randy Williams
Randy Williams: Student of Life. Professional Engineer. Skeptic. Explorer. Reader. Listener. Regular contributor at GineersNow. From Greater Denver Area, USA.

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  1. Nice try, Randy. But the Vahana project has already finished its final flight and has now been terminated. I think you’re reading really stale press releases…

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