Airbus plans first flying car for 2017: it's the Uber of the skies

Airbus plans first flying car for 2017: it's the Uber of the skies

Airbus will begin testing its first prototype flying car next year in a move that could reshape the short distance transport market currently served by taxis and rideshare services such as Uber.

Dubbed ‘CityAirbus’ and capable of vertical take-offs and landings, the vehicle would be piloted by a human at first to comply with existing regulations – similar to a helicopter – but it’s visioned to eventually become self-flying and fully automated as laws adapt over time.

While individuals could certainly buy them for their own private use, Airbus is focused on the sharing economy and providing rides for paying passengers.

Customers would use an app to book their CityAirbus journey, proceed to the nearest helipad where the aircraft could stop and then climb aboard to reach their destination.

“A flight would cost nearly the equivalent of a normal taxi ride for each passenger, but would be faster, more environmentally sustainable and exciting,” Airbus says.

“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky,” adds Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders.

“In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door – without any pilot.”

Prior to CityAirbus test flights, the company will trial drone-based delivery of parcels at the National University of Singapore from mid-2017.

The trial will see the drones travelling along pre-determined flight paths, with multiple drones operating at once and mobile-based notifications being sent to package recipients: alerting them when their parcel is ready to collect from a smaller-scale landing pad.

[Click the image above to enlarge it.]

Once Airbus has ironed-out the kinks, the trial will be expanded to ships at the Port of Singapore where drones will deliver parcels from dry land onto cargo vessels, ready for delivery by sea mail.

As to when the project makes that big leap from flying parcels onto landing pads to ferrying passengers across large cities? We’ll find out soon enough.

Also read: Airbus partners with Uber for on-demand helicopters

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Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!


  • spacecadet


    25 Aug, 2016 09:13 am

    Next year? That's pretty amazing. What is this going to do to our skies!

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  • vlad


    25 Aug, 2016 09:40 am

    '“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not ....” adds Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders.'

    Airbus ruined it. 

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  • DBPZ


    25 Aug, 2016 09:56 am

    Tell me what this thing is good on, comparing to a conveyor belt system.  Maybe it is good on alluring more investors to pour money into the company?

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  • F8


    25 Aug, 2016 10:02 am

    Pigs might fly too (although emissions could be a problem)

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  • sgb


    25 Aug, 2016 10:07 am

    Have Airbus Industries merged with Spacely's Space Sprockets or Cogswell's Cosmic Cogs? Sounds very 'Jetsons' to me. Lets just hope they have J class.

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  • russell


    25 Aug, 2016 10:13 am

    I will only partake if I can get SC.

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  • Leigh Hincks


    26 Aug, 2016 03:11 pm

    Can we please not use the uber to describe something.  That appalling company is about as awful as a company can be.  When you describe something as uber, it means you have no ethics, responsibility nor humanity.  If this is what you are making it will crash and burn.

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  • chewkc65


    26 Aug, 2016 07:00 pm

    Besides the engineering challenges there are also safety and security issues to consider.  How high do these city 'air busses' fly? Who are qualified to fly them? Will passengers be subjected to security screening like at the airport? If not,  how easy is it for terrorist to hijack these air busses?  Given these considerations will it be practical at all? 

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  • Stevo


    27 Aug, 2016 02:17 am

    I'm away in Thailand retired so I have lost track of time. I had to look at calendar to make sure it wasn't the 1st of April when I read this article stating it will be operational in 2017.

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  • Eli


    27 Aug, 2016 11:45 am

    2017 in another dimension ....or on another plane/planet

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  • Ryan Stephen


    27 Aug, 2016 08:44 pm


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  • Colin


    29 Aug, 2016 11:28 am

    What sort of parcels with the drones deliver? The only drones I've seen can't stay aloft for too long and can't carry much weight.  Seems like only a matter of time untill someone gets killed by a falling package or crashing drone.  Then what? 

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26 May, 2019 05:32 am


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