DUBAI (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials in Dubai released a short video online on Wednesday of what they claim is the world’s first autonomous Air Taxi being tested. The video shows an unmanned electric flying vehicle with two seats and 18 rotors.
The aircraft takes off and lands vertically. According to the vehicle’s maker, the autonomous aircraft flies using GPS tracks. If the testing goes well, this new air service could launch within the next five years.
Meanwhile, a European airline wants to change the game when it comes to commerical flights. EasyJet is hoping to provide an electric aircraft within the next decade. The airline has been working closely with U.S. company Wright Electric to develop the plane. EasyJet wants to the use the electric vehicle for short haul flights — no more than around 335 miles.
The electric plane is expected to carry about 180 passengers. EasyJet communications director Paul Moore explained that the company’s vision is to create a jet “which could be flying passengers across the UK and European networks.”
This is expected to be accomplished with batteries powerful enough to run the plane, but light enough to not weigh down the aircraft. “Those batteries don’t currently exist, but if you give the industry another five or ten years,” Moore said, ” we believe they can develop the batteries that realize this dream.”
“The electric plane would literally be a radical step,” Moore added. “It’s no longer a matter of if, but when.”