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Autonomous Aircraft From Airbus Takes First Flight

New self-piloted urban transport design passes early hover tests with flying colors

The first flight of Airbus’ Vahana lasted just 53 seconds and hit a maximum altitude of 16 feet, but its success brought home just how serious many companies are about the flying taxi model for the future of urban travel. The Vahana is electric-powered and autonomous, with room for a single passenger. Like most similar light urban transport projects, it is designed for vertical take-offs and landings (VTOL). The aircraft was completely self-piloted for the duration of its test flight and a second successful flight was completed the next day.

Courtesy of A3

Vahana has been in development for just two years by Airbus research and development outpost A(and yes, that's really what it's called). Other A3 projects include an on-demand helicopter booking platform and a modular cabin design system for large commercial aircraft. According to A3, the next step for Vahana is to begin testing transitions and forward flight. The aircraft will also be getting a new motor from California-based company MAGicALL.

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Learn more at A3.


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