AUDI, AIRBUS AND ITAL DESIGN TEST FLYING TAXI CONCEPT
>> Modular “Pop.Up Next” model flies and drives at Amsterdam Drone Week
>> Board member for sourcing and IT, Dr. Bernd Martens: “Flying taxis are on the way”
>> Audi and Airbus test on-demand service with helicopters in South America
At Drone Week in Amsterdam Audi, Airbus and Italdesign are presenting for the first time a flying and driving prototype of “Pop.Up Next”.
This innovative concept for a flying taxi combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. In the first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously. This is still a 1:4 scale model. But as soon as the coming decade, Audi customers could use a convenient and efficient flying taxi service in large cities – in multi-modal operation, in the air and on the road. Without changing vehicles, passengers will enjoy their leisure time, relax, or work.
“Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that,” says Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of the Audi subsidiary Italdesign. “More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation. In future senior citizens, children, and people without a driver’s license will want to use convenient robot taxis. If we succeed in making a smart allocation of traffic between roads and airspace, people and cities can benefit in equal measure.”
To see what an on-demand service of this kind could be like, Audi is conducting tests in South America in cooperation with the Airbus subsidiary Voom. Customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, while an Audi is at the ready for the journey to or from the landing site. “Services like this help us to understand our customers’ needs better. Because in the future, flying taxis will appeal to a wide range of city dwellers. With Pop.Up Next we are simultaneously exploring the boundaries of what is technically possible. The next step is for a full-size prototype to fly and drive,” said Dr. Martens.
Audi is also supporting the Urban Air Mobility flying taxi project in Ingolstadt. This initiative is preparing test operations for a flying taxi at Audi’s site, and is part of a joint project of the European Union in the framework of the marketplace for the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities. This project aims to convince the public of the benefits of the new technology and answer questions concerning battery technology, regulation, certification, and infrastructure.
AUDI, ITALDESIGN AND AIRBUS COMBINE SELF-DRIVING CAR AND PASSENGER DRONE
>> Pop.Up Next – a modular concept to solve traffic problems in cities
>> Board Member for Procurement, Dr. Bernd Martens: “A vision that could permanently change urban life”
>> The study employs lightweight construction, a 49-inch screen, facial recognition and eye-tracking
At the Geneva Autosalon, Audi, Italdesign and Airbus are presenting “Pop.Up Next”, an entirely electric, fully automatic concept for horizontal and vertical mobility. In the distant future this vehicle could transport people in cities quickly and conveniently on the road and in the air, at the same time solving traffic problems. The dominant interior feature is a 49-inch screen, while interaction between humans and the machine is performed by speech and face recognition, eye-tracking and a touch function.
The ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin can be attached either to a car module or to a flight module. Audi is supporting the project with know-how on battery technology and automation.
“Creativity is needed where new mobility concepts for cities and people’s diverse needs are concerned. Italdesign is an incubator for innovative technologies and radical prototyping. Pop.Up Next is an ambitious vision that could permanently change our urban life in the future,” says Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi Board Member for Procurement and President of Italdesign.
Italdesign develops future-oriented vehicle concepts for Audi and customers around the globe. Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign, says: “Various players will define the rules of urban mobility in the future. We are proud to collaborate with Airbus, the leading company in the aerospace industry, to investigate solutions for future mobility.” Astalosch sees Pop.Up Next as a flexible on-demand concept that could open up mobility in the third dimension to people in cities. Italdesign is making use of a network of cities, universities and various stakeholders in order to better anticipate the future of mobility in cities.A first version of Pop.Up already had its premiere at the Geneva Autosalon a year ago.