What just happened? Airbus is one of several companies that continue to work on flying taxis, and it has just revealed the next generation of its zero-emission electric vehicle, the CityAirbus. It's designed to fly silently over urban areas, potentially making it ideal for avoiding city congestion without making a lot of noise.
As with most other flying car concepts, the CityAirbus is an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) craft rather than the DeLorean-like vehicle we see in movies. The first-generation was first presented as part of the Urban Air Mobility project in 2019, while this latest version was unveiled at the first Airbus Summit on "Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace."
The CityAirbus, which uses fixed wings and a V-shaped tail, boasts eight electrically powered propellers, eight 100 kW (130 hp) Siemens SP200D direct-drive electric motors, space for four passengers, a 50-mile range, and a top speed of 74.5 mph. It's also piloted remotely, and, as it's designed to move over cities, Airbus is extolling the vehicle's ability to fly at less than 65 dBa and below 70 dBa when landing.
"We are on a quest to co-create an entirely new market that sustainably integrates urban air mobility into the cities while addressing environmental and social concerns. Airbus is convinced that the real challenges are as much about urban integration, public acceptance, and automated air traffic management, as about vehicle technology and business models. We build on all of the capabilities to deliver a safe, sustainable, and fully integrated service to society," said Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even.
The first-gen CityAirbus began development in 2016. This latest version takes the best elements of that vehicle and combines them with A³ Vahana, Airbus' electric flying car project that came to an end in December 2019.
The CityAirbus prototype's maiden flight is scheduled for 2023, with certification planned for 2025.