A³ by Airbus
San Jose, California, USA
The Airbus A³ Vahana (pronounced “A-cubed”) is a full-scale prototype self-piloting electric 8-prop tilt wing vehicle. It is intended to fly a single passenger or cargo along a predetermined flight path. It completed its first test flight in January 2018.
The vehicle uses eight 60 hp 45 kW motors situated on forward and rear tilt-wings. Approximately 1/3rd of its mass are its batteries (≈272 Kg). Its sensor suite employs cameras as well as active Lidar and Radar. It has a crash rated seat and a ballistic parachute intended to work even at a low altitude.
The A³ Vahana’s goal is to be utilized specifically as a single (eventually double) seated air taxi for urban mobility. Flying autonomously, it will follow only predetermined flight paths making minor deviations should obstacle avoidance be necessary.
A³ Vahana’s first test flight occurred January 31, 2018 at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport. The full sized “Alpha One” prototype flew autonomously to a height of five meters for 53 seconds.
Project Vahana began as one of the first projects of the Advanced Projects and Partnerships Outpost of the Airbus Group in California’s Silicon Valley. The group is intended to operate with strong innovative concepts and more aggressive timescales than traditional industry.
Airbus plans to have a demonstrator by 2020 that can be put into production and capable of delivering more than 1 billion flight hours every year.
|Fuselage length||18.75 ft||5.7 m||19.5 ft||5.86 m|
|Overall height||9.275 ft||2.81 m||9.275 ft||2.81 m|
|Wingspan||20.6 ft||6.25 m||20.6 ft||6.25 m|
|Tip-to-tip distance||18.75 ft||5.7 m||18.75 ft||5.7 m|
|Empty weight||1,050 lb||475 kg||1,050 lb||475 kg|
|Max gross takeoff wt||1,800 lb||815 kg||1,800 lb||815 kg|
|Useful load||200 lb||90 kg||450 lb||200 kg|
|Range, with reserves||30 mi||60 km||60 mi||100 km|
|Altitude||5,000 ft (at 95 °F)||1,524 m (at 35 °C)||10,000 ft (at 95 °F)||3,048 m (at 35 °C)|
|Cruise speed||110 kt||200 km/h||125 kt||230 km/h|
|Propulsors||8 propellers||8 propellers|
|Motor output||8 x 60 hp||8 x 45 kW||8 x 60 hp||8 x 45 kW|
- Search eVTOL news posts
- Airbus website Rethinking Urban Air Mobility, June 2017
- Article: Before They Take Off Flying Cars Must Defeat Bureaucracy, Wired, February 15, 2018
- Article: Airbus Vahana eVTOL Aircraft Completes First Full-Scale Test Flight, DefPost, February 3, 2018
- Article: First flight of the A³ Vahana eVTOL tiltwing, Vertipedia, January 2018
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March/April 2017
- Article: The Demand for On-Demand Mobility, Vertiflite, January/February 2017
- Video: Vahana – Passenger Experience, Vahana, June 16, 2017