Autonomous flying taxis may not be a pie-in-the-sky idea for much longer.
Boeing successfully completed the first test of its prototype autonomous passenger air vehicle, the company announced Wednesday. The test, which took place Tuesday in Manassas, Virginia, included takeoff, hover and landing, but the vehicle did not fly forward.
"In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype," Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop said in a statement.
The prototype is powered by an electric propulsion system and has a range of up to 50 miles. The vehicle is 30 feet long and 28 feet wide.
It's unclear when this on-demand air transportation could become widely available. Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, the company's subsidiary that is developing the autonomous flying vehicles, said in a statement that the group "will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market."
Boeing faces competition in the race to provide on-demand air vehicles. Bell Helicopters, a subsidiary of industrial conglomerate Textron, is also working on a similar product that would transport people around cities. Both companies are working with Uber, which hopes to launch a flying car network in the near future.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Boeing successfully completes test flight of air taxi prototype