Airbus drops a new video showing off its autonomous flying taxi concept

We'll be able to call on automated flying taxis with a tap on our phones' screens.
Image: vahana

Hailing a flying taxi will someday be as easy as pulling out your phone and pressing a button.

That’s the future presented by a number of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft projects, and major transportation movers and shakers, most notably Uber and its partners, have outlined plans to take the ride hailing services currently stuck on the ground to put them in the skies.

One of the busiest companies in the space is Airbus, which just dropped a new video of its autonomous flying taxi hailing project. The video is just a CG demo of the concept, but it’s still an exciting vision of the future of mobility.

Vahana is one of the legs of Airbus’ three-tiered A initiative, which is focused on developing future-forward aviation projects. The company’s CEO Tom Enders said in January that Airbus was aiming to have a working prototype by the end of this year.

The video shows how easy it is for Deborah, a Californian looking for a quick commute between San Jose and San Francisco. Not sure exactly what kind of future OS Deborah is using on that future phone, but the system doesn’t look too far removed from the user experience on apps like Uber and Lyft today.

It might not be a full-blown multi-modal system like some further-flung Airbus concepts we’ve seen or a true flying car, which are looking less and less likely given the projects currently in development, but it looks impressive nonetheless.

There’s not much information available about the project, or any news on the status of the prototype that Enders said was projecting by the end of the year. The company will have something to show next week at the Paris Air Show, according to The Verge, although it’s unclear exactly what that will bring other than the video.

The Vahana concept shows off an exciting future, but the rendering is still a ways off from reality. Driverless flying taxis have already appeared in Dubai, however, where the Ehang 184 was demoed during the city’s World Government Summit back in February. The service is projected to start full time there next month.

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