Boeing's self-flying car just completed its first flight

Science

24 Jan 2019

Boeing's self-flying car nails first flight, inches closer to launch

Just as several tech giants, including Airbus and Larry Page's Kitty Hawk, continue to develop their flying car projects, Boeing has achieved a major breakthrough in the space.

The aerospace company has completed the first flight of its autonomous air vehicle, inching a step closer to a future where flying taxis would be ferrying people across the city.

Here's more on it.

Test flight

Vertical take-off, landing capabilities verified

Vertical take-off, landing capabilities verified

In the first flight, Boeing tested take-off and landing capabilities of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV).

The prototype, powered by an electric propulsion system, lifted-off on its own, hovered for a while, and landed back on the ground, verifying its autonomous and ground control systems.

This marks a major feat for the company as a year ago PAV was nothing but a concept.

Here's a clip of the test

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Plan

PAV will make 'urban air mobility' possible

Though this is just the first test, Boeing hopes its fully-autonomous air vehicle will make urban air mobility a real thing.

The company believes its self-flying cars, when ready, would be able to ferry passengers, even cargo, across the city by flying over congested roads and dodging massive skyscrapers.

With a maximum range of 80km, this could be extremely handy in evading traffic situations.

Boeing is also working on cargo air vehicle

Along with the passenger air vehicle, Boeing has also been working on a cargo air vehicle, which could take off with as much as 220kg of load. The CAV passed its indoor test last year and is slated to be tested outdoors in 2019.

Future tests

What's next for Boeing?

What's next for Boeing?

For now, Boeing plans to close in on its ultimate goal by completing additional flight tests in the near future.

As part of this, the aircraft manufacturer will conduct forward and wing-borne flights of the 30-feet-long passenger air vehicle.

It will also advance the vehicle's safety systems and test how it transitions between vertical and forward-flight modes.

Launch

When will Boeing launch this vehicle?

Boeing is moving ahead with advancement and testing phase of its passenger air vehicle prototype.

As such, the work is still in progress and there's no exact timeline for when we might see an actual self-flying taxi in the sky.

Notably, it is not just Boeing in this race; Larry Page's Cora, Airbus, and several Chinese firms are also working on flying car projects.

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Most asked questions

When will flying taxis become mainstream?

Will these vehicles come to India?

What would be the cost of air-taxi service?

Will Uber also launch a flying taxi?

More questions

When will flying taxis become mainstream?

Asked 2019-01-24 12:33:50 by Hansika Jaiteley

Answered by NewsBytes

Flying taxis are expected to become mainstream within the next decade. In fact, it is estimated that the vehicles would contribute to an industry worth $2.9 trillion by 2040.

Will these vehicles come to India?

Asked 2019-01-24 12:33:50 by Ankita Mehta

Answered by NewsBytes

Urban air mobility vehicles could prove useful in the Indian market, but as of now, neither Boeing nor any other company working on a flying car has hinted India launch possibility.

What would be the cost of air-taxi service?

Asked 2019-01-24 12:33:50 by Vishal Patel

Answered by NewsBytes

The exact cost has not been detailed but we expect it to be a tad expensive, at least in the early days.

Will Uber also launch a flying taxi?

Asked 2019-01-24 12:33:50 by Ayaan Balasubramanium

Answered by NewsBytes

Uber Technologies has been working on a flying taxi project called Elevate to make aerial ride-sharing a real thing. The company plans to prep its vehicle by 2023.

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