The Race for Flying Cars
|Christoph Hammerschmidt||January 19th 2017|
At the DLD digital technology conference in Munich, Airbus Chief Executive Office Tom Enders said the company is in the process of developing flying cars – and a prototype will be available before the end of the year. The self-piloted flying car could be seen as a way of avoiding gridlock on city roads, Enders said according to media releases.
In 2016, the aircraft giant launched a division called Urban Air Mobility. The subsidiary is designed to fathom out concepts such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle capable of carrying multiple passengers. The aim would be for people to book the vehicle using an app, similar to car-sharing schemes.
"One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said at, adding that a company like Airbus must not ignore important new technologies such as autonomous driving and Artificial Intelligence. “If we ignore such trends, we would lose significant market segments”. Enders also said he is expecting that his company could fly a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of the year.
"We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously," he said, adding that Airbus recognized such technologies would have to be clean to avoid further polluting congested cities. Using the skies could also reduce costs for city infrastructure planners, Enders argued. "With flying, you don't need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads," he said.
Enders’ Airbus, is not the only company currently developing self-piloted drones aiming at passenger transport. In Munich, near the airport, a startup called Lilium Aviation recently has become operational. Their goal: Designing an electric drone capable of carrying passengers.