01:55 GMT +320 August 2019
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    After Uber, Airbus, Indian Tech Institute Announces Flying Taxi Project

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    The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a private firm to research and create an electrically-run flying taxi prototype which can take off from any terrain and fly.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): IIT Kanpur and VTOL Aviation India Pvt Ltd recently signed an INR 15 Crore ($2.2 million) contract for the development of a prototype for a self-piloted vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft. The institute has said it would take five years' time to complete the prototype.

     "We will establish a proof of concept and identify the key technology areas. There will be over 100 students working on this," Ajoy Ghosh, aerospace engineering and the flight lab head of IIT-Kanpur told The Print.

    Indian Junior Minister for Finance Jayant Sinha tweeted the story congratulating IIT on the initiative. 

    The proposed craft will most likely use a ducted fan, much like commercial airplanes.

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    "It will be clean as it will use electric power. We hope that the development of such a prototype would be revolutionary and help ease traffic congestion owing to the flexibility of such aircraft to take off from and land on any terrain," Ajay Ghosh added.

    The initiative is being praised by one and all on social media.

    IIT-Kanpur's aerospace department is the premium technical institute of India equipped with a state-of-the-art facility to conduct research activities in aerospace. The institute has wind tunnels and flight labs capable of testing aircraft.

    The news of the Indian tech institute attempting to develop the flying taxi comes close on the heels of an announcement by cab aggregator Uber of a flying car prototype that it hopes to offer rides to users by 2023.

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    Uber recently announced that it plans to start the flying taxi service between Dallas and Los Angeles. Uber also signed an agreement with NASA recently to explore concepts and technologies related to urban air mobility (UAM).

    Meanwhile, the European firm Airbus has also undertaken a similar project named "Vahana" (meaning "vehicle" in the Sanskrit language). The project completed its first full-scale test flight in the US state of Oregon on January 31 this year. Vahana is a fully electric vehicle, which is designed to carry a single passenger. 

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    air taxi, flying car, aerospace, technologies, electric cars, drone, Airbus, NASA, India
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