Audi & Airbus Reveal Electric Flying / Driving Duo


The modular system uses a passenger capsule that can attach to a motorized base for driving, and a quadcopter for flight.

The 2018 Geneva Motor Show is all about cars, but Italdesign has teamed up with Audi and Airbus to offer up something a bit different. Did we just say Airbus, as in the company that builds gigantic airplanes? Yes we did, because the Pop.Up Next modular system includes a gigantic quadcopter to take car and passengers to the skies.

Related – This Electric Aircraft Features A 900-kWh Battery, 650-Mile Range

Specifically, Italdesign calls Pop.Up Next a “fully electric and zero-emission modular system, designed to help resolve traffic congestion in large urban areas.” As you can see, the crux of this setup is an electric car that can detach from its motorized base and fly around town courtesy of a quadcopter. The idea actually debuted last year at the Geneva Motor Show, but Audi is now on-board and the components have been further refined to bring this whole crazy idea a bit closer to reality.

Specifically, Audi is bringing its experience in autonomous driving and battery-electric propulsion to the project, seen in the motorized base of the modular system. Airbus is obviously the driving force behind the air module, and over the last year the aerospace company has made refinements to the design and rotor ducts that would improve efficiency. Airbus and Italdesign are both working on several other technical systems for the two-seat capsule, including the coupling system that would secure it to the quadcopter for flight.

In theory, the entire system would function in a ride share capacity. Fully autonomous capsules on electric bases could ferry passengers via ground, with rotor modules coming in for a pick-up to get people across town quicker.

It’s certainly a novel approach to the flying car we’ve all dreamed of, but a viable mode of transportation is certainly many years away at the very least. Autonomous automotive systems are still in infancy, never mind the challenges of car-sized autonomous drones flying around a city. Still, it offers an interesting solution to traffic congestion and could well be a glimpse into the distant future of motoring.

Category: Audi

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18 responses to "Audi & Airbus Reveal Electric Flying / Driving Duo"
  1. SJC says:

    All pods unite!

  2. alain says:

    this would change transportion as we now it.

  3. Warren says:

    Still takes a lot of power just to keep something hovering against gravity. If everyone had one of these, can’t imagine all the gruesome scenes when one malfunctions and falls out of the skies. With huge populations of sky transport, spectacular accidents will be commonplace.

    1. Another Euro point of view says:

      Indeed, I take it those propellers should be able to cut really thin slices on a crash.

  4. DJ says:

    Like I said, who cares about your 0-60 time now 😀

  5. John Doe says:

    Would be cool to own one of these in the near future.
    As for safety, I’m sure they will be fitted with an automatic parachute, like some small planes have.

  6. CDAVIS says:

    Just when you think VW has taken the art of EV concepts to its furthest limits here comes Audi (a member of the Volkswagen Group) presenting the flying pod EV concept.

    Bravo VW

    1. CDAVIS says:

      … boat base attachment

      … submarine base attachment

      … hyper-loop base attachment

      … carnival-ride base attachment

      The possibilities!

      1. William says:

        Clown Car base attachment?

        Mars Attacks base attachment?

        The versatility never ends!

        1. William says:

          Kang and Kodos base attachment for the Win!

  7. Laurent France says:

    the power of an helicopter blows huge objects away from the floor. It would need some special safety zones for the take-off with nothing around it, no pedestrians …

    1. Alonso Perez says:

      Exactly. I don’t think people who haven’t been around helicopters realize just how much air needs to move down for the thing to go up. This would be a luxury service running from restricted rooftops in high-end neighborhoods, airports, and financial districts. To be fair, that’s pretty much what they are showing. Flying cars for the 1%.

      1. Well, when Automobiles first arrive, they were also for the 1%, too!

        Also, while a great many today have ridden in an Aircraft, far fewer have flown one and got a pilots licence.

        This may follow a bit of the samp path, but slightly accelerated!

    2. SteveSeattle says:

      …and if the noise of a RC drone bothers you just imagine what a multitude of these will sound like flying over your neighborhood.
      I think the biggest hurdle flying cars will face is societal acceptance.
      I like my EV because it is quiet.

    3. K-lein says:

      Correct… and these safe landing zones are the the bottleneck of any flying car system. They take an enormous amount of space, and only one vehicle can use them at one time, with significant safety margins before and after each landing or take off.

      Combined with the price of land in dense cities, means these landing zones would be few and far apart. Meaning very low capacity, defeating the whole purpose.

      Flying cars are a myth from the 1960’s when anything seemed possible, even things that make no sense.

  8. SJC says:

    People in the 30s looked to the future, people after sub prime look to the future as well.

  9. Kevin C. says:

    Such sweet dreams from the gilded age.

    Robber Barons
    Time machines
    Flying cars

    Always bet on the Robber Barons.

  10. Get Real says:

    Yeah, since they are currently running the country (into the ground).

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