Coming to a city near you?
Could 2017 be the year of the car? The flying car that is.
Well, according to Airbus CEO Tom Enders his company's self-piloted flying vehicle could be ready for testing by the end of the year.
As Reuters reports, the company plans to test the prototype with the eventual aim of using such vehicles to tackle congestion on urban roads.
A year ago Airbus formed a division called Urban Air Mobility with the aim of investigating ideas such as a vehicle to transport individuals or a helicopter-style vehicle that could carry multiple riders. The aim would be for people to book the vehicle using an app, similar to car-sharing schemes.
But the vehicle Enders to is reportedly designed to transport a single-person and will be capable of flying itself.
The CEO told the DLD digital tech conference in Munich: "One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground. We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously."
Airbus has been working on "vertical take-off and landing" (VTOL) technology that would allow vehicles to pick up passengers in busy urban areas, and has said it expects to be going into production within the next four years.
Enders also spoke of the company's obligation to ensure the airborne vehicles were environmentally friendly to avoid them adding to pollution issues. Outlining the benefits of developing such technology, he also added how airborne vehicles would reduce the pressure on local authorities and governments to invest in road infrastructure.
"With flying, you don't need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads," he added.
It would appear looks to be moving to capitalise on the increasing popularity of autonomous systems and artificial intelligence, as auto-makers and tech companies, including Tesla and Google, develop their own self-driving systems.
The company currently has three projects in development at its Urban Air Mobility division, including the Skyways project which involves testing autonomous drones with a view to eventually developing a new airborne transport system.
Airbus's has said its concept for a CityAirbus vehicle, which passengers would walk to the nearest helipad to board, could become reality without too many regulatory changes.
While they may not be in stock at your nearest Lookers dealership yet, check in for other high flying deals!
By Tracey McBain