Airbus has revealed its plans to create a fleet of self-flying taxis, with prototype vehicles estimated to be tested as early as the end of 2017.

The world’s second largest aeronautical company’s Vahana project is aimed at relieving rush hour congestion in major cities by creating the opportunity for commuters to “fly over traffic jams at the push of a button”.

Artist’s impression of the multipropeller CityAirbus vehicle (Airbus Group)
Artist’s impression of the multipropeller CityAirbus vehicle (Airbus Group)

 

It would work by users booking a seat on a so-called zenHOP CityAirbus drone after landing at a major international airport, for example. That drone would then fly them to their chosen helicopter pad – or zenHUB – in nine minutes, as opposed to a 90-minute taxi ride, according to the radical concept.

It also predicts the cost to be no more than a taxi ride, if split with three other passengers going to the same destination, and claims to eliminate the need to worry about luggage or security of your flight being hacked.

While the concept might sound like something from a science fiction film and 2017 might seem a bit ambitious, Airbus engineer Rodin Lyasoff insisted “many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there”.