By Erika Owen
January 17, 2017
Credit: Courtesy of A^3

Flying automobiles could make the leap from science fiction to reality in the very near future.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus announced Monday plans to test its design for an autonomous flying taxi by the end of 2017. Tom Enders, the company's CEO, shared the news at the DLD tech conference in Munich.

“We are in an experimentation phase, we take this development very seriously,” Enders told Reuters.

There's no official word on how much the company will be investing in this new technology, but Enders also shared Airbus's intention to “make the most” of these emerging transportation technologies.

“If we ignore these developments, we will be pushed out of important segments of the business,” he said.

Credit: Courtesy of A^3

At the conference, Enders also shared his thoughts on how this autonomous flying technology could actually lessen the financial load on city planners.

“With flying, you don't need to pour billions into concrete bridges and roads,” he said.

Credit: Courtesy of A^3

A prototype may be on the way, but Airbus doesn't expect to see any public testing from this technology until 2020. In an interview with Mashable, CEO of A³ Rodin Lyasoff said the craft is “designed to carry a single passenger or cargo, we’re aiming to make it the first certified passenger aircraft without a pilot.”