If you’re stuck in city traffic, you’ll appreciate this news: Airbus helicopters has just announced that it has completed its first full-scale testing on the propulsion system of the company’s CityAirbus demonstrator, Designboom reports. The vehicle in question is a a multi-passenger, self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle made for urban air mobility–in essence, a flying taxi.
The demonstrator passed the major propulsion test, which took a look at the performance of the vehicle’s ducted propellers and the integration of the full-scale propulsion unit with propellers, electric 100 KW Siemens motors and electrical systems.
The CityAirbus is designed to be fully battery-powered and able to vertically take off and land with four passengers aboard. It will be able to fly over congested cities to access important destinations like airports and train stations in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way using a four-ducted propeller configuration, which adds significantly to safety and maintaining a low acoustic footprint.
According to CityAirbus chief engineer, Marius Bebesel, “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight.”
The demonstrator will be tested on ground at first; during the first half of the coming year the development team expects to hit the “power on” milestone, meaning that all motors and electric systems will be switched on. The vehicle’s first actual flight is scheduled for the end of 2018. The test aircraft will be remotely piloted at first; later in the testing process a test pilot will be on board.
CityAirbus is being designed to carry up to four passengers with a cruising speed of 120 km/h. It will be initially operated by a pilot “to ease certification and public acceptance” on the way to a future of fully-autonomous operations.