The German automaker Audi, Airbus and Italdesign on Tuesday presented a reduced version of their vision of the future: a drone that can start the cabin of an autonomous electric vehicle and then fly to its intended destination.
The companies showed the concept of a flying taxi on Tuesday during the Drone Week in Amsterdam.
You can see the full video below that shows the different steps of the process.
To be clear, what the companies showed was a functional prototype and one that is not large enough for the human being to do. The “Pop.Up Next” prototype was a 1: 4 scale model.
Still, the companies provided an optimistic view of the future that, they say, could be only a decade away.
“Flying cabs are on the way. At Audi we are convinced of that, “Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi’s board member for purchasing and IT, and president of Audi’s subsidiary Italdesign, said in a statement.” More and more people are moving to cities And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation In the future, older people, children and people without a driver’s license will want to use convenient robot cabs. “If we manage to make an intelligent allocation of traffic between roads and airspace, people and cities can benefit in equal measure. ”
Audi said in a description below the YouTube video that the flying taxi service could be deployed as “as early as the next decade.”
To prepare, Audi is conducting tests in South America in cooperation with the subsidiary of Airbus, Voom, to learn how it could be a flight service on demand. Customers can book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, while an Audi is ready for the trip to or from the landing site.
“Services like this help us to better understand the needs of our customers, because in the future, flying taxis will attract a wide range of city dwellers.” With Pop.Up Next, we are simultaneously exploring the limits of what is technically The next step is for a full-size prototype to fly and drive, “said Martens.
Audi is also supporting the Urban Mobility air taxi project in Ingolstadt, an initiative aimed at preparing test operations for a flying taxi on the Audi site.