Forget Uber, just hail a flying taxi

Middle East

Dubai - Unbearable traffic. That's a problem so many cities have and it's only going to get worse.

Burgeoning smart cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai have recognised this and could be the first cities to roll out new technology that will see passengers flitting between the two cities in a self-piloting, flying taxi being tested by Airbus.

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The Airbus project, coined 'Vahana,' was dreamt up at A3, the group's innovation outpost.

The Airbus project, coined “Vahana,” was dreamt up at A3, the group's innovation outpost. Details of the project were outlined in recent article titled ‘Future of urban mobility: My kind of flyover,’ published on the group's website. But how feasible is it really?

“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics, are most of the way there,” said Rodin Lyasoff, the project executive of A3, in the article.

One the biggest challenges they face is developing effective, reliable sense-and-avoid technology, which will allow the vehicles to operate autonomously without colliding with stationary and moving obstacles.

The technology is only just beginning to be introduced for road-going vehicles, and once you're in the sky the calculations become considerably more complex. However, the group is confident that they can pull it off.

“In a not too distant future, we'll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door - without any pilot,” said Tom Enders, Airbus Group's chief executive.

The busy highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai could become a lot less busy with this new technology.

Adapted from a press release for IOL

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