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Airbus has a secret flying taxi project called Vahana

The French aerospace giant Airbus recently unveiled its secret flying-car project dubbed Vahana — a single-manned, autonomously piloted aircraft that can take off and land vertically. Look like drones on steroids.

The project launched in early 2016 as one of the first pursuits of A³ (pronounced A-cubed), the Silicon Valley arm of Airbus, according to the startup’s CEO Rodin Lyasoff. Vahana is a Sanskrit word that refers to the vehicle or mount of a god, but Lyasoff says his feet are firmly rooted in reality when it comes to the project.

The concept drawing of Vahana should look familiar to anyone who follows the tiny-but-passionate flying car movement. The aircraft has eight rotors on two sets of wings, both of which tilt depending on whether the car’s flying vertically or horizontally. There’s room for a single passenger under a canopy that retracts like a visor. The aircraft will be deployed like a taxi, making it the air-taxi version of Uber, according to CNN Money.



Airbus, which competes with the US-based Boeing, is best known for large jetliners like the double-decker A380. However, the flying car project shows that the French company is not above dabbling in some high-concept, and perhaps unrealistic, aviation ideas.

Lyasoff says his team of engineers, designers, and robotics experts are aiming to fly a full-size prototype before the end of 2017, and to have a “productizable demonstrator” by 2020.



source: vahana.aero , CNN Money.

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