Many folks joke about the depictions of the future in sci-fi films that show cars whizzing through the air rather than on the ground. That fantasy may be closer to reality than we think.

At the DLD technology conference in Munich, Airbus chief executive officer Tom Enders said that he hopes the aircraft manufacturer can begin testing a self-piloted flying car by the end of the year.

“One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground, now we have the technological wherewithal to go above ground,” Enders said during the conference.

The firm is attempting to make those sci-fi fantasies a reality in its Urban Air Mobility division that was created last year. The division is exploring ways to transport single passengers as well as helicopter-style vehicles to carry a larger group of people reports Reuters.

Flying cars would certainly help to ease congestion in major cities but Enders says that the technology would also need to be clean.

Flying cars would also mean city planners don’t need to pour money into traditional infrastructure development though we’d be amiss to assume that controlling a network of airborne vehicles would require no investment in other less traditional areas altogether.

The prospect of flying cars has us giddy with excitement and Enders says that Airbus wants to make the most of emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence.

Perhaps then Tesla and Airbus should meet. A fleet of autonomous vehicles that run on electricity generated by the sun sounds like the type of future we wouldn’t mind living in.

[Via – Reuters] [Image – CC BY 2.0 JD Hancock]