Manufacturing News from the Engineered Designer Perspective

Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi

We may be a couple of years behind schedule according to the Back to the Future series, but it appears that flying vehicles are now a thing. Airbus recently announced a series of successful test flights of their electric, self-flying vehicle, the Vahana. The company is producing these vehicles with the hopes that they will be able to provide the next generation of ride-hailing services.

The vehicles were tested in the U.S. state of Oregon. The test flights included lifting five metres off the ground for just under a minute. The Vahana, weighing in at approximately 725 kilograms, is propelled by eight rotors, which enable vertical takeoff and landing. The first test was conducted on Wednesday, January 31st. The second test flight occurred on Thursday, February 1st, during which additional testing consisted of forward flight.

The vehicle, which is designed to carry one passenger during autonomous flight, was in development for under two years. Airbus released a statement, which read in part: “Vahana aims to democratize personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility by leveraging the latest technologies in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.”

Following the successful test flights, Airbus CEO Rodin Lyasoff took to Twitter to make the announcement. “Two years ago, Vahana was just a lofty idea. Yesterday it flew for the first time. Thank you, @VahanaAero team, for the proudest moment of my career. Good luck, Alpha One, in your future flights.”

 

According to the company, the project began in early 2016 as one of the first projects at A³, an outpost of Airbus Group in Silicon Valley. “The aircraft we’re building doesn’t need a runway, is self-piloted, and can automatically detect and avoid obstacles and other aircraft.” The company is seeking to make the Vahana the first certified passenger aircraft sans pilot, with the ultimate goal of launching the vehicle by 2020.

“Beyond developing the vehicle itself, we’re seeking to move key technology categories forward, foster development of the regulatory regime for the certification and operation of automated aircraft, and to otherwise nurture an ecosystem that will help enable the vertical cities of the future.” The company has engaged with technologists across a variety of fields, including aerospace, software development, and operations research.

According to the website, “many of the technical and regulatory challenges to scalable, affordable flight are trending favorably…. These trends, along with the rising transportation challenges in metropolitan areas, make the case for a new generation of personal aerial vehicles.” The following were trends that were noted on the website:

  • Battery safety and energy density are now adequate for airborne applications.
  • Low-cost, reliable avionics are becoming broadly available, leveraging decades of unmanned aerial vehicle development.
  • Mature obstacle detection and avoidance technology can enable safe aircraft takeoff and landing and provides reliable collision avoidance in flight.
  • Recent advances in automated composite manufacturing and assembly show that small, lightweight vehicles can be produced at high volumes and significantly lower costs than traditional aerospace methods have previously allowed.

The Vahana team’s next goal is to achieve speeds four times faster than that of road traffic, with a flight range of about 80 kilometres. Additional uses for the vehicle could include cargo delivery, ambulatory services, search and rescue missions, and more. The sky is no longer a limit.

Latest Stories

Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi

Airbus Tests Self-Flying Taxi

We may be a couple of years behind schedule according to the Back to the Future series, but it appears that flying vehicles are now a thing. Airbus recently announced a series of successful test flights of their electric, self-flying vehicle, the Vahana. The company is producing these vehicles with the hopes that they will…

Soundscapes and Vibrations Help Blind People “See” the World

Soundscapes and Vibrations Help Blind People “See” the World

The World Health Organization estimates there are 285 million visually-impaired people around the world, 39 million of whom are blind. Researchers aim to assist these people in seeing the world through advances in technology and medical science. Researchers recently developed a pair of glasses that utilizes cameras and a compact processing unit to create 3D…

SpaceX “first orbital class rocket capable of reflight” test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch

SpaceX “first orbital class rocket capable of reflight” test flight today: $12 billion in contracts and a 100 missions at stake: live feed of launch

Years of delays and redesigns have finally come to an end with the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy this week. The company, which was founded in 2002, seeks to revolutionize space technology and colonize other planets. To accomplish this, SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. [To watch a live stream of the…

Space X Falcon Heavy launch live! ‘Great rocket launch or the best fireworks display,’ says Elon Musk. Watch the launch at 3pm today live on EDI Weekly

Space X Falcon Heavy launch live! ‘Great rocket launch or the best fireworks display,’ says Elon Musk. Watch the launch at 3pm today live on EDI Weekly

Elon Musk was hedging his “bets” when he said today’s hugely anticipated test launch of the Falcon Heavy will be a “great rocket launch or the best fireworks display.” Watch the launch of “the biggest rocket in the world by far” (Elon Musk): live at 3:04 PM ET to see which kind of spectacular display….

SPACE 1971 vs today: looking back on the anniversary of Apollo 14’s landing on the moon; with new landings planned, how much have we advanced?

SPACE 1971 vs today: looking back on the anniversary of Apollo 14’s landing on the moon; with new landings planned, how much have we advanced?

Today is the aniversary of Apollo 14’s landing on the moon — 47 years ago! Elon Musk’s vision — to take mankind back to “manned landings” — seems more credible when we look back decades at man’s early landings on the moon. We are also about 24 hours away from the launch of Falcon Heavy…

International Trade Commission Hands Down Verdict in Bombardier versus Boeing Dispute

International Trade Commission Hands Down Verdict in Bombardier versus Boeing Dispute

    An ongoing dispute between Bombardier and Boeing came to an end on Friday, as the U.S. International Trade Commission announced its decision. The dispute began following a move that saw duties of 300 per cent placed on Bombardier planes, which many had claimed were illegitimate. Canada’s ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton,…

Scientists Work to Grow, Create, Imitate Organs and Tissue

Scientists Work to Grow, Create, Imitate Organs and Tissue

Many advancements have made in the field of science as of late, including a number of innovative discoveries regarding organ and cell research. From cell manipulation to lab-grown organs, scientists are working to prove that nothing is impossible.   Creating 3D Shapes from Living Tissue Bioengineers from San Francisco recently published a report in the…

Interstellar Mission to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Moon Landing

Interstellar Mission to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of Moon Landing

A New Frontier NASA recently unveiled plans to commemorate the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing in a big way. Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are working on preliminary plans for the agency’s first interstellar mission, set for 2069. The announcement was made by Anthony Freeman, a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California,…

Aerial Imaging Designed to Detect Disease, Damages in Crops

Aerial Imaging Designed to Detect Disease, Damages in Crops

Oakland-based startup Ceres Imaging is working to detect pests and diseases in corn and soybean fields before an outbreak. They announced last month that they raised $5 million for their Series A fund in May, allowing them to partner with an agricultural cooperative serving in five counties in central Illinois.   Conception, Planning, and Implementation…

Amazon Narrows Down HQ2 Candidates Toronto Named as Only Canadian City to Make the List

Amazon Narrows Down HQ2 Candidates Toronto Named as Only Canadian City to Make the List

  Amazon announced on Thursday that the list of candidates for a second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The finalists were chosen from 238 applicants representing locations across North America. Of those 238 applicants, 20 were chosen for Amazon’s short list. Only one Canadian city made the list… Toronto. Amazon has met criticism for its public bidding…

1 2 3 78Next →

Other Popular News and Stories

  • DART Aerospace re-branding itself to reach wider markets
  • SPPCA's new landing gear facility opening in Mississauga
  • Canadian oil production up; producers turning to railways for shipment
  • Canada keeping up pressure on US for Keystone XL approval
  • Manufacturing the sole industry showing job losses in February
  • Japex to buy into west coast LNG development
  • BC refinery close to financing deal
  • Russian leasing company orders 42 CSeries jets from Bombardier
  • Economy managed slight growth in Q4, but shrank in December
  • GM investing $250 million at Ingersoll plant
  • Bombardier holds update on CSeries aircraft
  • Bombardier nearly ready to flight test CSeries
  • Canadian business, except energy, had profitable Q4: Statistics Canada
  • Skilled labour shortage in world oil industry: report
  • Clean energy expected to surge as pv costs drop
  • FTG Aerospace to supply avionics to Rockwell Collins
  • RV industry has growing role in Canada's economy: study
  • Pratt & Whitney Canada announces helicopter engine contracts
  • Miners struggling with higher costs, lower prices
  • Volkswagen to produce super-efficient hybrid