You can have your self-driving cars, your autonomous buses, your A.I.-controlled boats.
We’ll take a lift on a robot plane.
Dubbed Vahana (in Sanskrit, a vehicle or mount of a god), Airbus just released more details on its autonomous aircraft program.
A single-passenger vessel, Vahana features eight rotors and two tilting wings. According to Carscoops, it can take off vertically, fly by itself and automatically detect (and, thankfully, avoid) obstacles. Envisioned as “Uber-like air taxis,” it will only fly on predetermined flight paths.
The first prototype should be available before the end of next year, with a “productionzable demonstrator” ready by 2020. As Airbus CEO Rodin Lyasoff noted, the company is seeking to “nurture an ecosystem that will help enable the vertical cities of the future."
Worried about a mid-air collision? As Lyasoff notes, “In the unlikely event of a severe malfunction, the vehicle will deploy a ballistic parachute that works even at low altitudes.”
Hmmm. We're guessing if you have to ditch, the ride is gratis.