Flying public transport could be fast approaching with Airbus Helicopter’s newest creation, the CityAirbus, a fast, battery-powered air vehicle designed to carry passengers through the air to key city locations.
The concept of a flying taxi may not seem as farfetched as is once was. Airbus Helicopters has just announced the completion of their first full-scale testing for the propulsion system of the CityAirbus demonstrator – a multi-passenger, self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle designed for urban air mobility. Throughout the testing period, the skilled team at CityAirbus meticulously checked the individual performance of the ducted propellers, as well as the integration of the full-scale propulsion unit with two propellers, electric 100 KW Siemens motors and all electrical systems.
The CityAirbus is a battery-powered air vehicle able to vertically take off and land. It is designed to carry up to four passengers over congested megacities to important destinations such as airports or train stations in a fast, affordable and environmentally-friendly way. The innovative, four-ducted propeller configuration significantly contributes to safety and low acoustic footprint.
“We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator,” explains Marius Bebesel, CityAirbus chief engineer.
The vehicle will be initially operated by a pilot to ease certification and public acceptance, paving the way to future fully-autonomous operations. In the first half of the coming year, the development team expects to reach the “power-on” milestone, meaning that all motors and electric systems will be switched on for the first time, scheduled for the end of 2018.
“Innovation has always been a part of Airbus’ DNA and is crucial to keeping Airbus at the forefront of the aerospace industry,” says Luo Gang, CEO of Airbus’ new innovation centre.
With very real the possibility of flying transport on the horizon, what does this mean for urban infrastructure? Would ground-based roads become a thing of the past or will vehicles like the CityAirbus be the odd rarity?