Two years are all it takes for Airbus to turn its sci-fi concept to reality. Airbus drone taxi Vahana, dubbed Alpha One, reached a height of 5 meters (16 feet) and stayed in the air for 53 seconds before descending safely at 8:52 AM on January 31. Representatives from the FAA and the full Vahana team witnessed the first flight.
Its first flight was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day. Here’re the specifications for the Vahana test aircraft flown on January 31, 2018, provided by Airbus Vahana team:
Width: 6.2 m / 20.3 ft Length: 5.7 m / 18.7 ft Height: 2.8 m / 9.2 ft Takeoff Weight: 745 kg / 1642 lb
The Vahana Project
According to Airbus, the goal of Vahana is to ‘democratize personal flight by leveraging the latest technologies such as electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.’ Eventually, Vahana team aims to meet the growing need for urban mobility, alleviate ground congestion by offering short hop flights .
In 2017, CityAirbus already completed a successful ground test of electric power system.
“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” says Marius Bebesel, CityAirbus chief engineer.
Back to October 2017, Airbus confirmed its ambitious plan to create autonomous taxi, a single-passenger electric vertical-take-off-and-landing(VTOL) self-piloted vehicle. Undoubtedly, Vahana’s successful maiden flight is a remarkable achievement for Airbus.