Italdesign and Airbus has the solution to congestion - an autonomous car with a drone which flies you to your destination.
Here’s a collaboration we didn’t see coming. Renowned design house Italdesign and jet maker Airbus have teamed up to have a crack at turning the age-old idea of a flying car into a reality. Presented at the Geneva Motor Show, Airbus and Italdesign call its creation the Pop.Up. On first glance, it looks like a typical fully autonomous, two-seater city car that doesn’t stand out from other similar concept cars. That’s where the Pop.Up's flying capabilities come in.
Occupants sit in a pod above the self-driving chassis, which can be picked up by a drone and flown to the destination. The idea is that the Pop.Up will reduce traffic congestion and city emissions in the future. As a mode of transportation, it all sounds very convenient. Users select a destination from an app, which then determines the best transportation method before the Pop.Up picks you up. If the destination is a short distance away, the pod sits on an autonomous electric chassis which has a range of up to 81 miles and takes 15 minutes to charge. It’s powered by two electric motors producing a combined output of 80-hp, and has a top speed of 62 mph.
For longer journeys, or if the Pop.Up encounters heavy traffic, a drone would intervene, pick up the capsule and carry it to the destination. A video from Airbus even shows the possibility of loading it onto a train or hyperloop.
Adding the third dimension to seamless multi-modal transportation networks will without a doubt improve the way we live and how we get from A to B," said Mathias Thomsen, GM for Urban Air Mobility at Airbus. Successfully designing and implementing solutions that will work both in the air and on the ground requires a joint reflection on the part of both aerospace and automotive sectors, alongside collaboration with local government bodies for infrastructure and regulatory frameworks. Italdesign, with its long track record of exceptional vehicle design, was an exciting partner for Airbus for this unique concept project."
The Pop.Up is still a concept for now, but Airbus says that we could see something very similar become a reality within the next seven to ten years since both companies are highly ambitious in their respective sectors. We're not sure if it will catch one any time soon though considering that fully autonomous cars are still years away. Plus, people are already apprehensive about handing over control of a conventional car, let alone a flying one, not to mention the potential logistical issues of merging the Pop.Up with air and road traffic.