Airbus, having very good reputation in the field of helicopters production, has initially announced that they have started work on the development of their first airborne taxi last February. They are expecting to test their prototype by the end of year 2017. They primarily named this invention a VAHANA, which is an airborne vehicle that is capable to carry individual passenger or cargo requirement. The ultimate goal is to have these VAHANAs to operate autonomously in 5 to 10 years’ time with a low cost for mass consumption. VAHANA will also be running on clean energy, ideally electric power to reduce the emission of air pollutants.
FEATURES OF VAHANA
Airbus developed a new division called Urban Air Mobility, has been experimenting vertical take-off and landing (VOTL) style vehicle transportation through VAHANA Project, specializing in urban air transportation prototype testing. According to VAHANA’s official page, the vehicle will operate similar to the current helicopter scenario, starting with a vertical takeoff, forward flight and vertical landing. A significant difference is, VAHANA will operate with 8 fan tilt-wings in total instead of rotor blades in helicopter.
This design improves the controlling system, flight control and cruise aerodynamics. This also helps the aerodynamics analysis and keeps the overall vehicle footprint very small.
FACTS BEHIND IN THIS A NEW TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION
The need of VAHANA production arose in Airbus platform when the CEO, Tom Enders, observe a great potential system in air vehicle transportation in the next coming decade. This growth will be the ideal particularly in those countries with increasing megacities that will be facing traffic issues in routine, like Chengdu, Lahore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bogota and Luanda.
A major fact behind this invention, this demand will decrease the traffic congestion. Other companies such as e-Volo have been trying to create air transport prototype like Volocopter. In 2016, China also ran a trial test on its first public Transit Elevated Bus (TEB).
This change in the aviation world will also face major challenges, particularly regulations concerning the operation of autonomous flying vehicles over urban areas. Airbus is very much confident that VAHANA will be a game changer that can modify the current traffic regulations easily.