Airbus Vahana completes "fully self-piloted" test flight

Airbus The Alpha One prototype was airborne for 53 seconds

Airbus The Alpha One prototype was airborne for 53 seconds

But this first test was what you might call a baby step.

Project Vahana is a vehicle project focusing on advancing self-piloted, electric VTOL flight.

Aerospace giant Airbus has announced the first successful flight of its self-piloted "flying auto".

The Wednesday flight at a test range in the USA territory of OR kept going for a minute, with the airplane lifting up five meters (16 feet) starting from the ground and landing without a pilot, the European aerospace firm said in a statement.

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Vahana's sleek self-flying aircraft seats one passenger under a canopy that retracts in similar way to a motorcycle helmet visor.

Airbus is working on this craft at its A³ facility in Silicon Valley.

Vahana wants to create the vehicle leveraging the latest technology in electric propulsion, energy storage, and machine vision.

In 2017, CityAirbus already completed a successful ground test of electric power system.

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Vahana says that its goal with the aircraft has always been to create a vehicle to answer the growing need for urban mobility.

"In just under two years, Vahana took a concept sketch on a napkin and built a full-scale, self-piloted aircraft that has successfully completed its first flight", said Zach Lovering, Vahana's project executive, in a press release Friday. "After two years of planning and building, we are thrilled to see our efforts culminate in successful flight".

The team has also identified a new partner for its motors: MAGicALL. Representatives from the FAA and the full Vahana team witnessed the first flight. Vahana will begin using motors from that company soon.

The self-piloted aircraft is 20.3 ft (6.2 m) wide, 18.7 ft (5.7 m) long, 9.2 ft (2.8 m) tall and has a takeoff weight of 1,642 lb (745 kg).

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