Airbus Plans to Test Flying Car in 2017

It looks as though "Back to the Future" may have just been off by a few years. Flying cars could soon become a reality.

Airbus (OTC:EADSY) CEO Tom Enders told the DLD digital tech conference that the company’s Urban Air Mobility division would indeed be ready to start testing a self-piloted flying car some time in 2017.

It was just last year the airplane giant announced the Urban Air Mobility division, which is working on projects like a small plane-type vehicle to carry individuals and something more like a helicopter that can carry a small group. Like with Uber, riders would call these vehicles with an app.

Enders pointed out that flying cars wouldn’t just relieve congestion. They would also reduce costs for city planners, as well as saving billions in infrastructure costs. You don’t need a bridge to cross a river with a flying car.

Airbus views investments of this kind inevitable. Enders said "if we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business." Or, in other words, the company has to innovate. There’s no other choice.

Airbus is staying mum about how much the company is spending on this program, but the company did generate nearly 30 billion euros of revenue in the first half of 2016 with profits before interest and taxes coming in at close to 1.7 billion euros. Plainly stated, the company can afford to spend on research.

Unfortunately for those of us who want to own our own flying car, the company has no idea when such vehicles will be commercially viable.