Airbus Has A Different Approach In Tackling The Issue Of Autonomous Mobility
How does an autonomous flying car sound?by Kirby Garlitos, on
Aviation company Airbus is known largely for its airplanes – the Airbus A380, in particular, is the world’s largest passenger aircraft – so there must be a really good reason why the company can be excused for finding its way into an automotive website like ours. Well, the reason is valid, if not a little exciting depending on how much ambition Airbus really has.
See, the concept images you see here are more than just imaginative prototypes from an artist with far too much free time on his hands. These images actually come from Airbus and it’s part of the company’s newly formed Urban Air Mobility division that’s looking into different concepts that are catered towards imagining what an actual autonomous flying car could turn into. Don’t laugh. The aviation company is dead serious about it, so says its own CEO Tom Enders, who let his plans be known at the DLD digital tech conference in Munich.
"One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Enders said, before adding that all things considered, Airbus could have a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of 2017. Yup. That’s this year. A flying autonomous car has the chance to go for an experimental flight if Airbus really works at it.
"We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously," Enders added. "With flying, you don’t need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads."
Hard as it is to imagine a world where Jetsonian-like technology is actually becoming a real thing, or is in the process of becoming a real thing depending on how far technological developments go, a sliver of hope can peer through that seemingly daunting task if companies like Airbus really make an effort in making the most of these new technologies.
That said, even with all this talk and the apparent “seriousness” by which Airbus is tackling these opportunities, there are a litany of hurdles that need to be cleared before such a technology can, quite literally, lift off.
It’s still nice to see that a company like Airbus is seriously looking into it. Let’s see how this one goes.
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Is it really possible?
I’ll be the first to say that this one got me excited a bit. I know, I know. The thought of a flying car, let alone that’s autonomous, has been talked about in sci-fi circles for ages. Nothing has come out of it though, which is to be expected given that the technology of autonomous cars are still in their embryonic stages themselves.
But seeing Airbus take this matter seriously is very reassuring, in large part because it’s actually one of the few companies in the world that can possibly pull this off. Heck, it even said that it plans to use these self-flying planes in a similar fashion as autonomous car-sharing fleets. Now that’s what you call forward-thinking.
Ultimately though, this is one of those instances wherein you look at what’s really possible and what’s really possible. An autonomous flying car sounds great, believe me, but until there are legitimate and seismic developments in the technologies that will make that happen, it’s best to take all of this with a grain of salt mixed in with Airbus’ hopeful ambition.
We’re rooting for you to make this happen, Airbus. You have no idea.