Watch Airbus' flying taxi take off for the first time

Vahana's Alpha One takes to the skies.

Vahana, the autonomous passenger drone project from Airbus, has released footage from its first test flight that took place in the US last month.

The aerospace giant is hoping the project can “democratise personal flight” in the future, and their electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft is designed to hop between rooftops in congested cities.

Having only initially released photos of the test flight, a video of the short demonstration has now been released.

The craft, named Alpha One, took off and hovered for around a minute before touching down again. The Vahana team said the test used about 8% of the electric, autonomous vehicle’s battery, suggesting it is capable of more in future demos.

“There’s an age-old proverb: ‘you need to see something before you can accept that it really exists’, often condensed to the simpler ‘seeing is believing’. That phrase certainly rings true for Vahana and our first flight on January 31st,” the firm’s Zach Lovering wrote in a blog post.

Electric, autonomous quadcopters or drones are beginning to pop up in several places around the world.

German start-up Volocopter appeared during Intel’s keynote at CES at the beginning of the year and is aiming to launch a flying taxi service in Dubai in the future, while Uber has spoken of its own plans to launch the technology commercially through its Elevate project.

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