Airbus plans flying car prototype this year

Concept of Airbus self-piloted, electric vehicle for demonstration in 2017 and production in 2020 (Reuters)

Airbus has promised to release a flying car prototype by the end of 2017, according to Reuters.

The company formed a new division last year called Urban Air Mobility which is looking to develop helicopter-flying car concepts.

It is envisaged the flying car could be booked by app, similar to ride-sharing schemes Uber and Lyft.

Airbus chief executive Tom Enders said that he hoped a demonstration vehicle would be available by the end of the year.

“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” Enders said.“We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously.”

Enders also said Airbus, as the world’s largest maker of commercial helicopters, was investing to take advantage of new technologies including artificial intelligence.

“If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business,” he said.

A spokesman for Airbus declined to say how much initial investment is going into the development of the flying car prototype.