The CEO of Airbus Group (EPA:AIR) Tom Enders, has confirmed they will be testing a prototype of the flying car by the end of 2017. This will be a self-piloted vehicle, Tom says, which can one day help commuters avoid traffic and fly to the destination instead of driving through congested streets. The announcement was made in Munich, on the sidelines of a digital tech conference.
Flying cars and thinking robots have been the domain of science fiction for long. But the industry has been making remarkable progress in both these areas in the last few years. Robots have already been deployed in Taiwan, Japan, and a few other countries to do important tasks. In Germany, robots are even sifting through critical medical data. There is movement in flying cars too, with many companies reportedly working on the technology. So the day may not be far when we have them flying in city airs.
The Initiative of Airbus
Airbus had formed a division last year naming it the “Urban Air Mobility” to develop concepts like a vehicle that can transport people or a flying car for multiple riders. Airbus wants people to eventually book these vehicles by using an app, much the same as what happens with car sharing.
Speaking in Munich, the CEO said, “One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground. We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously”. Tom Enders added by saying the technology they will develop will be clean, and so won’t pollute the cities even further.
The Advantages of Urban Flying Cars
If clean energy can be used for city transportation, then it would not just free the congested streets, but would also reduce the pollution. And besides, the cost of town planning and maintenance will come down by a great deal as well. So there are clearly multiple advantages of the technology.
Airbus (EPA:AIR) is of course, not the only one working on a flying car. Founded in 2006, Massachusetts-based Terrafugia has received $5.5 million funding for several of their models. They have already come out with prototypes. There is Moller International that has the lightweight 2-passenger Skycar 200 vehicle, Xplorair that is backed by the French Armed Forces, and the Dutch company PAL-V that has a 3-wheel vehicle which can drive on the road and fly.
But Airbus is the largest airline business with the maximum funds that is working on the technology. They can certainly make it happen, if anyone can, given their experience and technical prowess.