Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicles are really taking off, and Airbus is set to launch a VTOL taxi by next year. The multi-passenger CityAirbus is powered by electric motors – and it’s designed to one day operate autonomously. The CityAirbus could allow commuters to escape traffic by turning to an affordable, environmentally friendly new mode of travel.


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Airbus announced they just finished their first full-scale testing for the CityAirbus’ propulsion system, describing the testing phase as successful. This means they’re on track for their first flight, scheduled for the end of next year.

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CityAirbus chief engineer Marius Bebesel said in a statement, “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator.”

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The CityAirbus boasts what Airbus describes as a four-ducted propeller configuration, which boosts safety and helps yield a low acoustic footprint. 100 kilowatt electric Siemens motors and four batteries help the CityAirbus get from point A to point B.

As many as four people will be able to ride in a CityAirbus, which will cruise at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, along fixed routes. In the beginning a pilot will fly the VTOL, but Airbus plans for the vehicle to one day pilot itself.

Airbus said there are benefits to adding a third dimension of travel to urban transportation, such as opening up accessibility for underserved or remote areas of a city. Self-piloted vehicles in particular can operate around three times faster than a typical road vehicle, and are energy efficient, running off electricity. Airbus said their VTOL method of travel will be quick and affordable.

Via Airbus

Images via Airbus (1,2)