A news release from Audi Media centre website has announced their innovative concept for a flying taxi which combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. In a first, Audi, Airbus and Italdesign are presenting a flying and driving prototype of “Pop.Up Next” at Drone Week in Amsterdam.
- 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
This innovative concept for a flying taxi is a combination of a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. In its first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously. Though this is a 1:4 scale model in the trial as of now, it is highly likely that within the coming decade, Audi customers will use a convenient and efficient flying taxi service in large cities – in multi-modal operation, in the air and on the road. Imagine passengers will be able to enjoy their leisure time, relax, or work without changing vehicles.
“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.”
Audi is already conducting tests in South America in cooperation with the Airbus subsidiary Voom to check the feasibility of an on-demand service of this kind. Customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, meanwhile an Audi is waiting ready for the journey to or from the landing site. “Services like this help us to understand our customers’ needs better. 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 involved in developing the Urban Air Mobility flying taxi project in Ingolstadt. This initiative is preparing test operations for a flying taxi at Audi’s site. This initiative is a 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’. It aims to convince the public of the benefits of new technology and answer queries about battery technology, regulation, certification, and infrastructure.
People using the services of flying drones that flying them directly to their destinations without any change in mode or break journey might soon become a reality!