CityAirbus by A³
Developers in France and Germany are working on an electrically operated platform concept for multiple passengers.
Airbus Helicopters, April 01, 2017 - For the last two years, Airbus Helicopters has been working on a breakthrough design that could soon become reality without having to wait for too many regulatory changes.
So far, it has been kept under wraps. Developers in France and Germany are working on an electrically operated platform concept for multiple passengers.
The aerial vehicle, which goes by the working title of CityAirbus, would have multiple propellers and also resemble a small drone in its basic design.
While initially it would be operated by a pilot – similarly to a helicopter – to allow for quick entry into the market, it would switch over to full autonomous operations once regulations are in place, directly benefitting from Skyways and Vahana’s contribution.
The feasibility study has already been completed and the conclusion is favourable. For the moment, those in charge do not wish to reveal any further technical details. However, one thing that Marius Bebesel, head of helicopter demonstrators at Airbus Helicopters, can talk about is how CityAirbus would work in practice: customers use an app to book a seat on a CityAirbus, proceed to the nearest helipad, and climb aboard to be whisked away to their destination. Unlike Vahana, several passengers share the aircraft.
The sharing economy principle would make journeys in the CityAirbus affordable. A flight would cost nearly the equivalent of a normal taxi ride for each passenger, but would be faster, more environmentally sustainable and exciting.
“A taxi ride through a new city is a nice experience as it is, but flying over that city would be much more thrilling,” says Bebesel.
However, many questions are yet to be clarified: How quiet would such an aerial vehicle be? How safe? How would the vehicles communicate with each other? How can operators ensure that they will not be hacked? “To answer these questions, we are relying on the expertise and support of the entire company,” says Bebesel.