The solution to gridlock traffic could be flying cars, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said on Monday at the DLD digital tech conference in Munich. The European aircraft maker plans to start testing its prototype vehicles by the end of this year.

The vision is to create a multi-seat vehicle that can be hailed using an app, much like other ride-sharing services. Similar to helicopters, the cars will take off and land vertically to accommodate urban use. Airbus plans to employ autonomous driving and artificial intelligence technologies. Without those, Enders says, Airbus is in danger of falling behind in the industry.

"We are in an experimentation phase," he continued. "We take this development very seriously." For now, Enders says, his end-of-year goal is to have the vehicles prepared for large-scale production by 2021. Part of the development is still being worked on by Urban Air Mobility, a division formed by the company last year.

"One hundred years ago, urban transport went underground." said Enders. "Now, we have the technological wherewithal to go aboveground."