Boeing's Flying Car Lifts Off in Race to Revolutionise Urban Travel

Boeing is competing with arch-rival Airbus SE and many other firms to introduce small self-flying vehicles capable of vertical takeoff and landing.

The investments, fuelled by leaps in autonomous technology as far as frustration with street congestion, can alter the face of the aerospace industry over the next ten years.

Boeing’s 30-foot-long (9 meter) aircraft – part aircraft, part drone and part fixed-wing plane – raised a few feet off the floor and left a soft landing after less than a moment of being airborne on Tuesday at an airport at Manassas, Virginia, Boeing said.

Future flights will examine ahead, wing-borne flight.

Important barriers to Boeing’s vision of”low-stress” freedom – as it’s called in the organization’s marketing materials – include sorting out several crucial security and regulatory issues to meld traditional roadway visitors together with fleets of flying cars.

Boeing is working with startup SparkCognition along with the US Federal Aviation Administration to create a traffic-management system for three-dimensional highways, as well as the regulatory framework which will enable waves of autonomous vehicles to zip safely around buildings, the business has said.

Boeing bought Manassas-based Aurora Flight Sciences last year to speed development of a fleet of autonomous air vehicles. With Aurora, Boeing is also working on Uber Technologies’s UberAIR support for flights which are planned to be available for order via mobiles around 2023.

Boeing is seeking to achieve a selection of 50 miles with two flying car variants capable of carrying two and four passengers each. Tests are planned for later this year on a package-hauling variation that can increase to 500 pounds (226.8 kg).

Competitors range from Airbus, which says it’s already conducted numerous flying vehicle evaluation flights, to Volocopter, which includes analyzed drone flights that resemble a little helicopter powered by 18 rotors, and AeroMobil, with a stretch-limousine concept that can turn into a fixed-wing aircraft.

Vertical Aerospace, which completed a flight test last year, aims to supply short inter-city flights in the coming years using a piloted aircraft capable of carrying multiple passengers.

“The future of freedom — moving products, moving cargo — moving individuals – that future is happening today and it is going to accelerate over the next five years and ramp up much more past that,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s president, chairman and CEO, told a panel at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

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