At the end of January 2018, airbus taxi tests of the Vahana project from Airbus Corporation took place. Alpha One, as the French developers called their firstborn, is a tiltrotor with front and rear swivel wings. The dimensions of the future air taxi are impressive: 6,2 meters long, 5,7 meters wide (the largest wing span) and 2,8 meters high.
Innovation is given to the project by its engines: each wing has four electric propeller motors with propellers, making Alpha One a 21st century creation, concerned about environmental issues. The second innovative component is self-governance. Unmanned aerial taxi will receive a system of automatic avoidance of collision with obstacles and other aircraft. Aerotaxi flights must strictly follow predetermined routes, deviating slightly from them only if necessary to avoid a collision.
According to the plans of the French developers, the Vahana project air taxi will carry either one passenger or cargo. The maximum take-off weight of the Alpha One is 745 kilograms.
The developers felt that flying robots could attract many who want to ride with the breeze. It is not for nothing that the manufacturing companies see the United Arab Emirates as the market for their electric flying taxis, where in Dubai they plan to launch an air taxi service for wealthy customers over the next five years.
However, with all the optimism of these plans, there are still unresolved problems. Just 53 seconds of the first flight depleted the Alpha One battery by 8 percent. That is, until technical problems are resolved, there is no need to talk about the possibility of their commercial use.
There are also questions about the safety of using an air taxi: will it come to someone’s evil mind to start an unmanned convertiplane with 745 kilograms of explosives, hack the control system and send it to a deadly flight?