The cockpit of the Airbus flying taxi unveiled

After the first flight tests of the Alpha One, Vahana, the subsidiary of Airbus, presented the second prototype of a flying taxi focused on the development of the cockpit.

Launched in 2016, the flying taxi project of Vahana, an Airbus subsidiary, is progressing at a good pace. After the first flight in February 2018 followed by a full trip one year later of the Alpha One prototype, Vahana has just unveiled a second aircraft that focuses on the study of the cockpit.

The Alpha Two Vahana offer a first concrete overview of what will be the experience on board the VTOL ( aircraft vertical takeoff and landing) autonomous driving single-seater equipped with eight electrical tilt rotors. In her blog post, Vahana explains that the boarding will be done using a platform or a staircase according to the configuration of the vertiport from which these flying taxis will take off.

Access on board the Vahana Flying Taxi will be via a bridge or platform.  © Vahana

A stripped cockpit

The atmosphere aboard Alpha Two is very sober. No controls or flight instruments, just a screen placed in front of the passenger on which it can follow the route. Visibility is unobstructed mainly to enjoy the landscape. 

All this is still very provisional and likely to evolve. One of the photos also shows us a close-up on the nose of the Alpha Two, where we discover the camera and the various sensors (Lidar, radars) that serve to detect and avoid obstacles.

For now, Vahana has already completed about 50 test flights with the Alpha One in the state of Oregon. The aircraft is 6.2 meters wide, 5.7 meters long, 2.8 meters high and has a take-off weight of 745 kg. Airbus hopes to have a finalized version for commercial use around 2020.