Airbus’ new eVTOL that aims to usher in an era of flying taxis just took its first public flight – take a look at CityAirbus

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

  • CityAirbus is the new eVTOL being developed by Airbus’ helicopter division that aims to set the stage for a new era of intra-city travel with flying taxis.
  • The futuristic-looking demonstrator can carry four passengers with a range of 60 miles, traveling at 75 miles per hour.
  • Airbus demonstrated the eVTOL in public for the first time on July 20 during a visit by a German politician to the facility in Bavaria.

Airbus’ new eVTOL just took to the skies for the first time in public during a demonstration flight for a German politician.

CityAirbus, as the electric aircraft is called, is part of Airbus’ vision for “flying taxi” aircraft and currently being developed by the manufacturer’s helicopter division. The remotely piloted aircraft first flew independently in December, according to Aviation Today, but the July 20 demonstration flight for Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder saw CityAirborne go airborne for the first time in front of public officials and the media, eVTOL.com reported.

Europe’s leading aircraft manufacturer is among those investing in eVTOLs as a way to advance urban air mobility, a field traditionally dominated by noisy and expensive helicopters. The past few years have seen Airbus been collecting data on the new field, in part, through its Silicon Valley incubator, Acubed, which helped develop Airbus’ now-defunct on-demand helicopter start-up Voom and single-pilot eVTOL demonstrator project Vahana.

Now, the new eVTOL aims to set the stage for a new era of flying vehicles.

Take a look at CityAirbus.

Airbus began developing CityAirbus as a demonstrator eVTOL in 2016 with aims to create a fleet of flying taxi aircraft that can fly above traffic.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

It’s being developed by Airbus Helicopters and the resemblance to its existing product line shows.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

Here’s a traditional Airbus H135 helicopter, which has strong design similarities to the eVTOL.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

But flying taxis like CityAirbus won’t be replacing the helicopters that Airbus creates as the eVTOL is only capable of short hops within cities, not between them.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

This electric aircraft can fly for around 15 minutes with a projected range of around 60 miles.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

In a futuristic design straight out of science fiction, four ducted propulsion units will power the aircraft with two on each side and eight motors and eight propellers in total.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

Eight Siemens SP200D motors offer a top speed of 120 kilometers per hour, or around 75 miles per hour, it’s only slightly faster than the average car traveling at highway speeds.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

The advantage, though, comes from more direct routings and flying above roadway congestion.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

Going beyond its limited range would incur a lengthy recharge, which can take up to an hour until battery technology advances and can bring charge times down.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

CityAirbus is “single failure tolerant,” meaning it can still land normally after losing one of its propellers.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

As eVTOLs are new technology, safety features like single failure tolerance will be key for consumer confidence.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

The main airframe, created from a mix of metal and composites, will house four passengers with no need for a cockpit.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

Though the hope is for Airbus’ eVTOLs to fly completely autonomously in the future, initial plans call for CityAirbus to be a remotely-piloted aircraft.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

Airbus has been among those leading the charge in autonomous flight, namely with its self-flying A350-1000 XWB, so an autonomous eVTOL isn’t far off.

Airbus' CityAirbus eVTOL aircraft

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