CNN Money brings to attention the Vahana, a battery-powered pilot-less VTOL-capable aircraft designed to work as a taxi for a single-passenger, with the goal of tapping into a "nascent, but fast-growing, field: the use of battery-powered electric propulsion technology to enable on-demand services."
We seek to help enable truly vertical cities by opening up urban airways in a predictable and controlled manner. We believe that full automation will allow us to achieve higher safety by minimizing human error. Our aircraft will follow predetermined flight paths, with only minor deviations if obstacle avoidance is needed. We believe this mode of operation will be compatible with future airspace management systems and will allow more aircraft to share the sky. Full automation also enables us to make our aircraft as small and light as possible, and will significantly reduce manufacturing costs.
We’ve made a number of decisions to simplify vehicle aerodynamics—and, subsequently, flight software—while providing a degree of redundancy that enables our aircraft to operate safely even after losing a motor. In the unlikely event of a severe malfunction, the vehicle will deploy a ballistic parachute that works even at low altitudes.
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