Boeing flying car prototype completes first test flight

26 January, 2019, 00:41 | Author: Darnell Patrick
  • Boeing's electric autonomous passenger air vehicle just had its first flight

According to the company, the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft-which it calls a passenger air vehicle (PAV)-completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing.

It's also capable of autonomous flight - and, yes, the first flight was done without a person on board, using the air taxi's inbuilt control systems from ground control.

These companies and a bunch of others seem determined to have scaled-down aircraft in the air in the not so distant future, acting as short-distance means of transportation for city dwellers.

"Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market", said Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt, Steve Nordlund. It features integrated wing and propulsion systems. In the next phase of testing, the aircraft is scheduled to be tested for wing-borne flight (forward motion) and the transition between vertical and horizontal flight.

The 30-foot-long (9.1m) plane has a wingspan of 28 feet (8.5m), with vertical rotors created to let it hover or fly forward for up to 50 miles (80.4km).

The Boeing PAV during its first test flight.

One of the most disappointing things about living in the future we once imagined is the conspicuous lack of flying cars that The Jetsons promised us.

"This is what revolution looks like, and it's because of autonomy", Aurora Flight Services chief executive John Langford said in a statement. Vahana, the self-piloting air taxi developed by A3, Airbus's tech-centric Silicon Valley outpost, completed its first test flight a year ago.

Boeing is among a handful of companies in the United States and around the world - including Uber and a startup backed by Google founder Larry Page - that are developing vehicles which could be used for personal air transport with autonomous navigation.

"From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world", he said.

Airbus, Uber and Intel are all trying to build a viable commercial flying vehicle. Real prototype vehicles are being built right now.



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