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

Boeing completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle prototype in Manassas Virginia on Tuesday

Boeing is among the companies vying for a stake in the future business of package-carrying drones and self-flying vehicles, with Airbus and Intel also testing flying vehicles and companies like Uber drafting business models for air taxi services.

Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences designed and developed the prototype.

The world's largest aerospace company successfully launched a 30-foot-long Passenger Air Vehicle a few feet off the ground before sticking a gentle landing less than a minute later, per a report via Yahoo!

The test flight represents the latest milestone for Boeing NeXt, which leads Boeing's urban air mobility efforts.

Vertical Aerospace, led by chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick, and with ex-Airbus and Boeing engineers on staff, late past year completed its first successful test flight of an unmanned prototype vehicle. Flight is a loose term here, though - the initial test only exercised the craft's takeoff, hover and landing abilities, in addition to its autonomous functions.

"This is what revolution looks like, and it's because of autonomy", said President and Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Flight Sciences, John Langford. We continue our progress towards a safe and sustainable urban mobility ecosystem.

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Boeing NeXt vice president Steve Nordlund said the company meant to unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market.

The flying vehicle was able to take off, hover and land successfully.

Boeing's urban air mobility arm, Boeing NeXt, enlisted Aurora to design and develop the prototype.

Boeing said it is also working on an unmanned fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) created to transport up to 500 pounds (226 kilos). Having completed its first indoor flight in 2018, the CAV will transition to outdoor flight testing this year.

"This is a transformation that is going to happen faster than many of us might have thought a couple years ago", Muilenburg said, "and we are on the leading edge".

Given the rapid pace of development in urban air transport technology thus far, future delays in launching the Uber Air service may be due to regulatory hurdles. Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles will be the first USA cities in the aerial ride-sharing network, and commercial services may start by 2023, it said.

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