Daily Maverick

Airbus tests self-flying taxi

Airbus said Friday that it had successfully held the first test flights of the Vahana, an electric, pilotless flying vehicle that it hopes will be able to ferry people around cities.

The Wednesday flight at a test range in the US state of Oregon lasted just under one minute, with the aircraft lifting up five metres (16 feet) from the ground and landing without control from a pilot, the European aerospace firm said in .

Propelled by eight rotors that allow it to take off and land vertically, Vahana completed a second test flight on Thursday, and additional testing is slated including flight.

The aircraft, which Airbus has been developing for less than two years, is designed to carry one passenger and fly autonomously, according to its website.

“Vahana aims to democratise personal flight and answer the growing need for urban mobility by leveraging the latest technologies in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision,” Airbus said in its statement.

Autonomous driving technology has made considerable progress in recent years with high-tech firms and established automakers putting test vehicles on the roads, while a handful of inventors and start-ups have developed flying cars. DM

SARS & Gartner – global advisory giant’s mysterious deal with Moyane’s friend follows a pattern of tender corruption
By Pauli Van Wyk
US president’s vow to drop countries that are ‘not our friends’ threatens US aid to SA
By Peter Fabricius
No, the ConCourt did not make any finding on ‘hit the boer’ song
By Pierre De Vos
Ramaphosa eyes solution to land question, hints at election before May
By Peter Fabricius
Leaked memo reveals Thabo Mbeki Foundation’s opposition to ANC approach to land
By Rebecca Davis
Cape Flats communities shut down in protest over lack of policing
By GroundUp
Magashule will fight to the bitter end, Zuma too
By Stephen Grootes
South Africans get first dibs on SAFCOIN, an exclusive African cryptocurrency
By SAFCOIN
Blindside
By Zapiro
As SABC board is set to present detailed turnaround plan to Parliament, Minister Mokonyane is not helping
By Marianne Thamm