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The project, known as "Vahana," will be run by Airbus subsidiary A3, which was set up in Silicon Valley in 2016. A3 CEO Rodin Lyasoff said flight tests of the first vehicle prototype should take place before the end of 2017.
“Many of the technologies needed, such as batteries, motors and avionics are most of the way there,” he said.
According to Lyasoff one of the biggest challenges would involve developing reliable sense-and-avoid technology to ensure the pilotless craft could avoid collision.
Target markets for the craft could include transport service providers and the system could operate in a similar way to car sharing applications such as Uber, he said.
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