From September 21 to 22, 2021, Airbus held a summit that focused on the emergence of a sustainable aerospace industry.

On the first day of the event, the airplane maker unveiled its new vision for the CityAirbus, Airbus’s electric, fixed-wing aircraft suited for the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) market — think flying taxis. With a v-shaped tail and eight electrically-powered propellers, the CityAirbus is designed to carry up to four passengers to various locations within a city.

Critics of Urban air mobility often target air taxi technology and business models, despite easy comparisons as Uber for aircraft. Although, Uber bailed on its flying car project late last year.

According to Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even, the more significant challenges involve urban integration, public acceptance, and automated air traffic management. It sounds ambitious, but Airbus wants to be all of these things in one nicely packaged, fully integrated service.

CityAirbus hopes to have a 50-mile range and reach a cruise speed of 75 mph. The company also wants it quiet, with sound levels below 65 dB when flying overhead and below 70 dB during landing. For comparison, a Boeing 737 hits about 97 dB when landing, according to IAC Acoustics.

Typically, when you think of an e-VTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft, they lift off the ground like a helicopter and then transition to fly like a plane. The new design is optimized to hover and cruise efficiently with no moving surfaces or tilting parts during the transition.

The announcement isn’t the company’s first step into the UAM market. As a matter of fact, it’s not even the first CityAirbus. Airbus deemed a UAM VTOL feasible back in 2015. Then, in December 2017, the company released a concept of a CityAirbus quadcopter design with identical speed and capacity specs. Four years ago, the goal was to have a fully-certified CityAirbus used in urban areas as soon as 2023.

The new CityAirbus NextGen will benefit from the company’s years of R&D. Not only did the company develop a demonstrator aircraft of the previous iteration, but it also built the Vahana single-seat, tilt-wing eVTOL. The two have conducted 242 flight and ground tests and have flown more than 600 miles in total, according to the company.

Commercial passengers won’t be flying in the CityAirbus within the next two years, but the company hopes to achieve the prototype’s first flight in 2023. If all goes according to plan, the aircraft could be ready to fly by 2025. In the meantime, the company will also work with cities and other partners to help make urban air mobility a reality.