CLOSE
Vahana/Airbus
Vahana/Airbus

Airbus's "Flying Car" Prototype Could Be Ready for Takeoff Within the Year

Vahana/Airbus
Vahana/Airbus

The manufacturer of the world’s largest passenger airplane is setting its sights on a much smaller form of air travel. As Reuters reports, Airbus aims to have a single-person flying car prototype ready for demonstration by the end of 2017.

Since last year, Airbus has been looking into building autonomous aircraft that can be summoned through an app, just like ground-based ride-hailing services. At this year’s DLD digital tech conference in Munich, Airbus CEO Tom Enders revealed just how close they are to reaching that goal. According to Enders, the project is "in an experimentation phase" and a demo vehicle could be ready for takeoff within the year. In addition to personal flying cars, Airbus is also exploring self-piloted helicopter-style aircraft for transporting multiple passengers at once.

Airbus hardly has a monopoly on the future of autonomous air travel. The European flying car company Lilium Aviation recently received a $10 million investment and has plans to launch full-scale test flights within the year. Uber is also looking to take short-distance travel to the skies in the near future. Building flying cars sounds like a costly endeavor, but Enders says it could end up saving cities money in the long run. "With flying, you don't need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads," he said at the conference.

[h/t Reuters]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
arrow
This Just In
Flights Grounded After World War II Bomb Discovered Near London City Airport
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images
Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

London City Airport grounded all flights on the night of February 11, after a World War II bomb was found in the neighboring River Thames, The Guardian reports.

The half-ton bomb was revealed Sunday morning by development work taking place at the King George V Dock. Following its discovery, police set up a 702-foot exclusion zone around the area, closing local roads and shutting down the London City Airport until further notice. According to the BBC, 261 trips were scheduled to fly in and out of London City Airport on Monday. Some flights are being rerouted to nearby airports, while others have been canceled altogether.

The airport will reopen as soon as the explosive device has been safely removed. For that to happen, the Met police must first wait for the river's tide to recede. Then, once the bomb is exposed, they can dislodge it from the riverbed and tow it to a controlled explosion site.

The docks of London’s East End were some of the most heavily bombed points in the city during World War II. Germany’s Blitz lasted 76 nights, and as the latest unexpected discovery shows, bombs that never detonated are still being cleaned up from parks and rivers more than 75 years later.

[h/t The Guardian]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
arrow
History
Why Amelia Earhart Is Remembered as One of History's Most Famous Female Pilots
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Amelia Earhart was a legend even before she mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying around the world. But the aviator's fame wasn't entirely based on skill alone. As Vox explains, Earhart's reputation eclipsed that of several contemporaries who were equally—if not more—talented than “Lady Lindy." So why did Earhart's name go down in history books instead of theirs?

In addition to her talent and courage, Earhart’s international fame could be chalked up to ceaseless self-promotion and a strategic marriage. It all started in 1928, when socialite Amy Phipps Guest and publishing juggernaut George Putnam handpicked the then-amateur pilot to become the first woman to be flown in a plane across the Atlantic Ocean. Earhart wasn't involved with the actual flight process, but the trip still established her as the new female face of aviation (and introduced her to Putnam, her future husband).

After completing the transatlantic journey, Earhart’s profile rose sky-high as she gave public lectures, wrote an aviation column for Cosmopolitan magazine, performed stunts like flying solo across the Atlantic (a feat that was first achieved by Charles Lindbergh in 1927), and endorsed everything from cigarettes to designer luggage. Her celebrity was ultimately cemented with her marriage to Putnam, who orchestrated savvy promotional opportunities to keep his wife’s name in the paper.

Learn more about Earhart’s rise to fame by watching Vox’s video below.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios