Vahana the "Uber" Drone of Airbus
While in Dubai we are still awaiting the inaugural air taxi flight, we introduce Vahana, an Airbus initiative for the passenger transportation service using an electric drone, auto-pilot, take-off and vertical landing (VTOL) capability for European Community. Vahana is expected to be used by everyday travelers as a cost-comparable replacement for short-range urban transport such as taxis, buses or trains using a Uber-like service request system and vertiports from where they take off or land.
With an initial flight range of 80 km, one of the fundamental premises of this project is that complete automation and detection technology allow it to achieve higher levels of safety by minimizing human error and allowing more vehicles to share the sky. While Vahana is intended as an air taxi, it can also be used as a platform for cargo transportation, ambulance, search and rescue, mobile hospital, limousine or even as a tool to deploy modular infrastructures at disaster sites. There is no other project known to incorporate so much automation in vertical flight and the long history of Airbus in aircraft certification and security will give the appropriate framework of confidence in its economic viability.
So where is Vahana now? In recent months the company has achieved final delivery of major large-scale components including wings, fuselage and avionics components having begun the complete integration of the vehicle, they are also testing the aerodynamic subscale models with self-piloting flight tests and several stand-alone take-off and landing trials. While the company has not yet advanced a probable date the next technological breakthrough in urban aerial mobility is ready to take off