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

Boeing's self-flying car just completed its first flight

Boeing flying vehicle - created to whisk passengers over congested city streets and dodge skyscrapers - has completed its first test flight on Tuesday, offering a peek into the future of urban transportation the aerospace giant and others are seeking to reshape.

Boeing's Autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) prototype is shown during an inaugural test flight, in Manassas, Virginia, the United States, Jan. 22, 2019.

Boeing is one step closer to bringing a flying taxi to the masses - well, the masses that can afford personal, autonomous air travel, at least.

The all-electric aircraft is designed for fully autonomous flight with a range of up to 50 miles, targeting a new form of "urban air mobility".

The PAV is a part of Boeing NeXt, which is developing autonomous aircrafts. At 30 feet long and 28 feet wide, the prototypes airframe design integrates both the propulsion and wing system for improved efficiency.

Next on the agenda is testing PAV 's transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes, the most challenging problem that needs to be solved with this type of aircraft.

The 30-foot-long (9.1m) plane has a wingspan of 28 feet (8.5m), with vertical rotors created to let it hover or fly forward for up to 50 miles (80.4km).

"This is what revolution looks like, and it's because of autonomy", said John Langford, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Flight Sciences in a statement to the press. "Certifiable autonomy is going to make quiet, clean and safe urban air mobility possible".

This isn't the first unmanned air vehicle that NeXt has been developing. Besides Boeing, other companies like Airbus and a German startup called Volocopter are likewise working to launch air taxis of one kind or another. The cargo vehicle completed its first indoor flight previous year and will see outdoor flight testing in 2019. While Boeing didn't say if the model is the one being developed for Uber, the ride-hailing company said separately Wednesday that the vehicle is on track to be an air taxi on the planned Uber Air network. The passenger air vehicle is an exciting forefront for us - think about urban flying taxis.

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