Named for the animals that Hindu Gods ride upon, has had two prototypes shown. Once being a plane, and the cause for our attention would be the VTOL variant. This version uses wings that turn the attached propellers, allowing for better maneuverability in urban environments.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. In a previous article, I talked about Airbus working with Uber before to provide Helicopters on demand. Now they're pushing the envelope and are engineering self piloting VTOL's. This affordable method is built with the consumer in mind. You start with requesting the Vehana to go to your location, then you take off in this one person helicopter. Thankfully it flies itself (and comes with a parachute for the Vehana, just in case.).
Personally I'm anxious to see how they develop this, and what it can mean for transportation moving forward. Unfortunately, they aren't planning to even have this done by this decade. It is looking to take at least ten years before we can be picked up and dropped off by one of their helicopters.
But what is a Vehana?
It is an electric powered helicopter coming with 8 propellers on two sets of wings that angle for maneuverability. It seats only one passenger and, as of this writing, can work with between 40 to 50 mile missions. They are planning for a fast turnaround on charging their helicopters, and the design of it looks like something straight out of sci-fi.
For me, I wonder about how this could work in reality. Yes, I got all starry eyed at the thought of going to work in a helicopter. But then I thought of the real life aspects. How would the neighbors react to a parade of propellers early morning? Or about when I get home and it sets off all the neighbors dogs. Can it work in apartment complexes? This project just keeps raising more and more questions, but we'll be waiting close to years for answers. The first thing, though, is that the Vehana looks amazing and it's getting everyone excited for it.
From the press conference, all that was given was concept art and goals. No one really touched on how loud this thing is, and how are flight clearances being handled? Can they land in an airport and let us avoid idiotic parking? What is it doing for storage space? Will they ever make larger ones for party groups, or in the air business meetings? The Vehana is great for personal use, but I wonder how much larger something like this can get before specs become an issue.
What about you? How do you feel about Airbus' latest endeavor into on demand helicopters? Leave your comments below and get the discussion started.