Airbus' autonomous drone taxi takes a step towards reality

Airbus CityAirbus rendering

Airbus CityAirbus rendering

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The idea of a flying car has been around nearly as long as the modern automobile itself, but only now are companies beginning to realize the dream of personal transportation via flight. One of many companies in the hunt is Airbus, but it's arguably further along than others.

Digital Trends reports the company recently conducted the first successful test of the CityAirbus' propulsion method, which uses four 140-kilowatt battery packs to power the eight propellers. The design of the CityAirbus also allows the vehicle to take off and land vertically, a major factor in the realization of short-distance air travel. Additionally, the CityAirbus can hold four passengers, including the pilot, and can travel for 15 minutes at speeds up to 75 mph.

No, 15 minutes is not a long period of time, so Airbus will certainly need to develop a charging method to put the CityAirbus back in the air as soon as possible. But, the vehicle is still some time away from production. Airbus will take the CityAirbus to the sky for the first time in late 2018 if all goes according to plan. The first flight will be remote-controlled to ensure maximum safety, but pilots will take over after the test flight. In the future, Airbus wants the vehicle to be fully self-driving with no human input whatsoever. 

For now, travel is bound to roadways, but should Airbus find the success it dreams of, it wants CityAirbus drones to be zipping across local skyways in 2023.

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