Airbus has been working on its Vahana project for years. It’s an attempt to create an autonomous passenger drone network that could operate like a flying version of the Waymo’s self-driving cars. In January, the company’s flying taxi took to the skies for the first time. Now we’re getting a glimpse of what the cockpit might look like. In a blog post, the Airbus Vahana team shared photos of Alpha Two — its first demonstrator with a finished interior.
The photos show the single seat inside Alpha Two. It looks like something you’d find in a video racing game at an arcade, but a bit more futuristic. From the cockpit, passengers will get an unobstructed view of the horizon — there’s no pilot to get in the way. There’s also a single, high-definition screen, which will show information like the flight path. Another photo shows Alpha Two with its cabin hatch open, but it’s not clear how passengers will actually get into the aircraft. Airbus says it envisions a platform or steps.
The company’s initial flight tests have reportedly gone well, though the aircraft only hovered about 16 feet above the ground for a few seconds. But Vahana has more development and plenty of testing to do before it’s ready for passenger flight. Still, just a few years ago, self-flying air taxis sounded far fetched, and today we have a pretty good idea of what they could look like.
Written by Christine Fisher for Engadget