While most automotive and tech companies are busy working on autonomous solutions for road-going vehicles, the Airbus Group plans on testing a prototype of a self-piloted flying car as a way of avoiding gridlock.
Airbus has already formed a new division called ‘Urban Air Mobility’, exploring concepts meant to carry individuals, among which is a helicopter-style vehicle that can carry multiple riders. Ultimately, Airbus would look for people to book the vehicle using an app, just like with car-sharing programs.
“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” said Airbus CEO Tom Enders, while adding that he hoped his company could fly a prototype for single-person transport by the end of this year.
“We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously,” added Enders. “With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads.”
He also said that as the world’s largest maker of commercial helicopters, Airbus wanted to invest in making the most of new technologies such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, in order to usher in the era of flying cars, as reported by Reuters.
“If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business.”
Of course, one of the biggest hurdles for Airbus will be to develop technology that will allow vehicles to avoid collisions when flying autonomously, which is why solving this issue is currently a top priority.
Photos via Airbus