Aircraft

Electric self-piloted Airbus VTOL aircraft completes first full-scale test flight

Electric self-piloted Airbus V...
The first successful full-scale test flights for Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft
The first successful full-scale test flights for Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft
View 10 Images
Early concept art of Vahana
1/10
Early concept art of Vahana
Early concept art of Vahana
2/10
Early concept art of Vahana
The first sketch on a napkin two years ago that started everything for Vahana
3/10
The first sketch on a napkin two years ago that started everything for Vahana
In late 2017, the Vahana team moved to this hangar at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport
4/10
In late 2017, the Vahana team moved to this hangar at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
5/10
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
6/10
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
7/10
The test flights were initially scheduled for late 2017 but slight delays pushed them back to January 2018
Vahana during initial engine testing
8/10
Vahana during initial engine testing
Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft, is readied for its first test flight
9/10
Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft, is readied for its first test flight
The first successful full-scale test flights for Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft
10/10
The first successful full-scale test flights for Vahana, an all-electric VTOL self-piloting aircraft

The race is most certainly heating up in the world of autonomous flying taxis. From the Intel-backed Volocopter's recent debut at CES to Ehang's autonomous passenger drone, what seemed like a crazy sci-fi idea just a few short years ago is rapidly becoming reality. The latest leap forward comes from Airbus and A³ with the first successful, full-scale test flight of its single passenger, self-piloted, electric VTOL aircraft called Vahana.

The Vahana project is relatively new compared to much of its competition with Airbus only launching the project two short years ago. To move from concept sketch on a napkin to a working prototype in such a short time is undeniably a remarkable achievement.

In late 2017, the Vahana team moved to this hangar at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport
In late 2017, the Vahana team moved to this hangar at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport

The full-scale aircraft tested was dubbed Alpha One and its first flight was completely self-piloted, lasting 53 seconds and reaching a modest height of 5 m (16 ft). The test aircraft measured 5.7 m (18.7 ft) long, 6.2 m (20.3 ft) wide and 2.8 m (9.2 ft) high and had a takeoff weight of 745 kg (1,642 lb). The next stages for testing will involve transitioning from vertical to forward flight.

There are undeniably many hurdles, both technically and regulatory, that need to be overcome before these things are set loose in the airspace over our cities ,but the pace of development seen in the Vahana, and others, is truly startling. So much so, it isn't unreasonable to expect to see autonomous flying taxis in our skies within the next 10 years.

Source: Vahana.aero

1 comment
YuraG
The only VTOL that gets no comments here? Are you afraid to take on Airbus, guys? IMHO this one is the most elegant solution of all I've read about here.