Airbus is building a flying, autonomous taxi fleet so you never have to sit in a traffic jam again

Airbus flying taxiAirbus GroupA rendering of what the flying taxi could look like.

Airbus wants to make the flying car a reality.

The aircraft manufacturer is designing a flying taxi that can drive itself to make commuting easier in traffic-heavy cities. Airbus wrote on its website that the flying taxi will be part of a fleet so you can summon it on your smartphone.

“Techies in Silicon Valley invent high-tech products every day. However, they still do not have a solution for one of their biggest problems: rush hour,” Airbus wrote on its website announcing the flying taxi. “In response, Airbus Group experts are looking skywards to develop radical concepts that will relieve urban congestion.”

Airbus is aiming to conduct its first flight tests of its prototype vehicle, named CityAirbus, by 2017 — a goal Rodin Lyasoff, the engineer leading the project, said sounds ambitious but is entirely feasible. “Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,” he wrote on the website.

The biggest challenge is creating the system that will allow the taxi to fly autonomously, he added. Airbus said that the taxi will first be operated by a pilot, but will fly autonomously once federal regulations are put in place that allow that.

“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky,” Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in the announcement. “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.”

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