Airbus are going to build a driverless flying taxi as a solution to the urban congestion which is now plaguing many of the world’s major cities.
It’s called the ‘CityAirbus’ and it’s essentially an electric quadcopter prototype that would fly as part of a vast network of taxis that can be summoned using an app on your smartphone.
While this would normally be envisaged as nothing more than just a concept Airbus is genuinely serious about making it a reality.
The first prototype CityAirbus will be tested in the real-world in 2017.
Why so soon? Well as futuristic as they sound, flying taxis are already being developed by a range of companies around the world.
One of the most notable projects was the EHang - a stunning all-electric personal quadcopter that would be entirely autonomous.
First showcased at CES 2016, the EHang has already got permission to start real-world trials.
So why the rush? Well Airbus believes there’s a significant gap in the market when it comes to trying to upgrade our cities.
Airbus Helicopters’ Vassilis Agouridas explains: “Given today’s technological and business constraints, most smart city concepts completely ignore flying. That’s why we’re convinced that this represents a truly disruptive opportunity for Airbus Group.”
The company’s CEO Tom Enders is fully backing the decision to move into city mobility as well.
“I’m no big fan of Star Wars, but it’s not crazy to imagine that one day our big cities will have flying cars making their way along roads in the sky,” says Enders.
“In a not too distant future, we’ll use our smartphones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will land outside our front door – without any pilot,” he concludes.
Robots In 2016: These Are The Drones, Robots And Machines That Will Change Our Lives
Robots that can deliver other robots:
Amazon Prime Air is a drone delivery service which the company is currently testing. The company aims to deliver products within just 30 minutes of the customer pressing the 'order' button. (AP Photo/Amazon)
Robots that could soon be saving lives:
MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
The robot 'CHIMP' developed by Team Tartan Rescue from the US prepares to complete a task during the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. It is hoped that these robots will eventually replace emergency services workers during events like the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Robots that can carry your stuff:
MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
A robotic cheetah runs during a demonstration at the finals of the DARPA Robotics Challenge. DARPA's four-legged robots have been designed to carry supplies and ammunition for the US Army. Capable of travelling over tough terrain the hope is that these will eventually replace the need for trucks or small vehicles. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Robots that can kill:
AFP via Getty Images
A sentry robot freezes a hypothetical intruder by pointing its machine gun during its test in Cheonan. South Korea unveiled a high-tech, machine gun-toting sentry robot that could support its troops in detecting and killing intruders along the heavily fortified border with North Korea. The weapons-grade robot can detect, raise the alarm and provide suppressive fire. (KIM DONG-JOO/AFP/Getty Images)
Robots that can race each other:
YOSHIKAZU TSUNO via Getty Images
Japan's motorcycle maker Yamaha Motor introduces the prototype model of a motorcycle riding robot 'Motobot' during a press preview at the Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo on 28, 2015.(YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
Robots that are toys:
The Sphero BB-8 remote controlled droid is on display at CES Unveiled, a media preview event for CES International, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Las Vegas. The robot is controlled by an app for a mobile device. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Robots that will do your weekly shop:
A new delivery drone company plans to revolutionise the way we do our shopping by replacing your weekly trip to Sainsbury's with a tiny delivery robot which will bring your fruit and veg straight to your door.(Starship Technologies)