Remember the scene in Back to the Future: Part II where they traveled to the year 2015 and realized flying cars were a thing? And then, we got to 2015 in reality and realized there’s zero chance of having flying cars?
Lo and behold, this year in 2020, it looks like riding flying cars will happen soon as Airbus’ new ‘flying taxi’ has just taken to the skies for its first-ever public flight.
To be honest, it’s not a flying taxi as we might be expecting it to be, because, it is just an ordinary-looking taxi that can fly – instead of looking more like a futuristic helicopter with a few extra bits and bobs attached.
This is no surprise when you take into account that it is being developed by Airbus’ helicopter division, which is hoping to kick-start a new era of intra-city travel with its very own flying taxis.
The flying taxi is named as CityAirbus, the new eVTOL flew to the skies on July 20 during a demo flight for Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder, who had traveled to Airbus’ facility in Bavaria, Germany.
The aircraft can carry four passengers with no need for a cockpit, as the aim is for Airbus’ eVTOLs to fly completely autonomously in the future, yes, without a pilot. But the initial plans call for CityAirbus to be a remotely-piloted aircraft.
Even though CityAirbus first flew independently in December, this was the first time it went airborne in front of public officials and the media, and it was successful.
CityAirbus’ futuristic design includes four ducted propulsion units that will power the aircraft. Two on each side of the vehicle as well as eight motors and eight propellers.
These motors, which are Siemens SP200D, offer a top speed of around 75 miles per hour, meaning the flying taxis move only slightly faster than the average car traveling on a motorway.
Obviously the CityAirbus has a much greater advantage than your average car, as it can take more direct routes and avoid roadway traffic.
However, the only downside is that the CityAirbus can only fly for around 15 minutes with a projected range of around 60 miles.
Going beyond this limited range would mean the electric aircraft would have to undergo a lengthy recharge, which can take up to an hour until battery technology advances which would be able to bring charge times down.
As such, the eVTOL is only capable of short trips within cities, not between them, which is absolutely perfect for its taxi function.