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Test flight shows electric air taxis could be a reality soon

In our fast-paced world, it is every traveler’s aspiration to be able to reach the destination in the shortest possible time. If the latest developments at Airbus are any indication, we are one step closer to being able to hire air taxis to travel as per our convenience.

Though experiments with Vahana, the ‘electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft’, are at the nascent stage, it could bring about a paradigm shift in the way people move from one place to another.

Image courtesy: biodrones.ca

A video footage of the test flight conducted by the aviation giant last month shows the electric-powered aircraft successfully taking off and hovering for nearly one minute. It is an oval shaped cabin with eight rotors and wings designed to take-off vertically and move forward once it reaches the required height. It is the first time a passenger aircraft with electric rotors are being tested successfully.

Why the test flight could have been a challenging feat for Airbus is the unconventional design and technology of the prototype. Here, the company is treading into the unchartered territory, exploring the possibilities of emerging technologies like electric propulsion and machine vision.

Once rolled out, the service will have a range of 50 miles, and its cost will be at par with that of road and rail transports.

While announcing the autonomous taxi service two years ago, the company had set the goal of flying Vahana four times faster than its terrestrial counterpart. Once rolled out, the service will have a range of 50 miles, and its cost will be at par with that of road and rail transports. The futuristic flying machine is being developed by Airbus’ A3 team. To say the self-piloted taxi is a combination of drone and helicopter would be the best description for it.

Going by the test flight, it is clear that Airbus has to go a long way before being able to operate Vahana on a commercial basis. The initiative can be termed the beginning of a new revolution, for which the sky is the limit.

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