Saturday, June 17, 2017

Here’s what it’ll be like to hail one of Airbus’ futuristic flying taxis

Deborah is a computer-generated human who needs to get from the Hotel de Anza in San Jose to Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, post haste. Traffic on the 101 is a nightmare, so rather than spending hours in traffic, she whips out her smartphone and hails an electric, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft through Vahana, the on-demand, aviation project. Total fare: $77. Total flight time: 18 minutes.

This is the future envisioned by Airbus, which operates Vahana through its A³ subsidiary. For almost a year now, the aeronautics giant has been working on developing a fleet of electric, autonomous, multirotor VTOL vehicles that can be used to fly from rooftop to rooftop in dense cities where traffic is often at a standstill....

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