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A Flying Car? Prototype Ready by End-2017, Airbus CEO Reveals

Jan 25, 2017 11:36 AM EST
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China's C919 passenger jet takes off for maiden flight

2017 is turning out to be an exciting year in the field of transportation. The Airbus Group plans to test a prototype of its self-piloted flying car as a way to avoid gridlock by the end of 2017. This was confirmed by the group's chief executive officer.

According to Reuters, it can be recalled that Airbus recently formed a division called the Urban Air Mobility. It's currently exploring concepts such as flying vehicles that can be used to transport individuals or even helicopter-style vehicles that can carry multiple riders.

The aim is to primarily help people book vehicles using an app, like car-sharing schemes.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders told people in the DLD digital tech conference in Munich that while the trend a few hundred years ago is for people to go underground, we now have the means to go above ground.

He added that he hopes the Airbus could fly a demonstration vehicle for single-person transport by the end of 2017, and that they're still in an experimental phase. Airbus even considered these technologies as they can help avoid polluting congested cities. He added that using the skies could reduce costs for city infrastructure planners, as there's no need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads.

Talking to Slate, Enders added that Airbus, given it's the world's "largest maker of commercial helicopters," wanted to make the most of new technologies in transportation. This includes autonomous driving and artificial intelligence in order to usher what can only be called an era of flying cars. A spokesperson for the company declined to say just how much invested the company is towards urban mobility. 

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