Aviation giant Boeing has started testing its first flying car – dubbed an ‘autonomous passenger air vehicle’ by the firm — which aims to revolutionise urban mobility.

On Wednesday, the PAV prototype completed its first test flight in Manassas, Virginia, as part of Boeing’s NeXt division.

The autonomous car was only lightly tested, with the vehicle completing a controlled take-off, hover and landing, which helped to trial the vehicle’s self-driving capabilities. Further testing flights will be more in-depth, as it spent less than a minute in the air on this run.

Boeing’s chief technology officer Greg Hyslop said: “Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.”

The PAV Prototype has been designed to be fully autonomous from take-off to landing, and the fully-electric craft has a range of 50 miles. It’s quite small, measuring 9m (30 feet) long and 8.5m (28 feet) wide.

The inaugural test flight has been described as a “milestone” by Boeing NeXt, which is working with a number of agencies in an attempt to lead the way in flying car development, which could transform urban mobility. Boeing is also working on a fully-electric, self-driving cargo vehicle, which can carry up to 226kg.

The Chicago-based firm is in competition with a number of  other manufacturers —including Airbus, Volocopter and AeroMobil — in the race to get flying cars safely in the sky.

Ted Welford


January 25, 2019

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