Airbus Group plans to develop an autonomous flying vehicle platform concept to fly over traffic jams in an effort to relieve urban congestion and address traffic concerns that resulted from urbanization in “megacities.”
The aerospace conglomerate said in a report its A3 outpost has pursued an individual passenger and cargo transport autonomous flying vehicle platform project coined Vahana that has scheduled first vehicle prototype tests for the end of 2017.
Rodin Lyasoff, the A3 project executive, believes the project will be feasible within 10 years and will require a sense-and-avoid technology as well as include features similar to car-sharing applications that use smartphones to book vehicles.
“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there … We believe that global demand for this category of aircraft can support fleets of millions of vehicles worldwide,” noted Lyasoff.
Airbus has also conducted a feasibility study on an electrically operated aerial vehicle platform concept for multiple passengers to be called CityAirbus.
The company’s Airbus Helicopters organization will also conduct a project with Singapore’s civil aviation authority called Skyways that will test a drone parcel delivery service in the National University of Singapore campus in mid-2017.
Airbus Helicopters’ autonomous drone project aims to gather proof on how commercial drones can safely operate over urban areas.