A prototype of Boeing’s flying car passed its first flight test, the aerospace manufacturer said on Wednesday, unveiling the project as part of a wider framework of future autonomous air taxis.
The aircraft has a fuselage resembling a small single engine with a rear propeller and a cockpit at the front, but is equipped with two long skies equipped with multiple propellers to allow vertical take-off and landing, similar to many drones.
For this first flight, the aircraft took off, hovered and then landed
Boeing NeXt, who is responsible for coordinating the company’s efforts to develop urban air transport, relied on its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to develop the prototype that flew on Tuesday.
“In a year, we went from a concept to a prototype that flies,” said Greg Hyslop, the technology manager of the aircraft manufacturer.
The tests will now continue to “make progress on safety and reliability for autonomous and on-demand air transport,” the statement said.
The device, which is about nine meters long, is planned to be fully autonomous, with a range of some 80 kilometers.
“That’s what a revolution looks like and it’s because of the autonomy,” said John Langford, Aurora’s CEO. “True autonomy will make silent, clean and safe urban air transport possible,” he added.
Several other companies are working on projects that are rivals of Boeing’s, be it Airbus with its Vahana prototype that flew for the first time in February 2018, Uber, or even the luxury car manufacturer Aston Martin.