At this year’s Geneva auto show, Audi joined Airbus and Italdesign to show off the Pop.Up Next concept. But, the flying taxi may not be a concept for long.
The German government signed a letter of intent to test the flying taxi in Ingolstadt, Audi’s hometown, according to an report. The Pop.Up Next concept combines a traditional car and a flying taxi of sorts in one machine. On the ground, it will go 31 miles on an electric charge, but when airborne, it will go 81 miles.
Audi, Airbus, and Italdesign have a rather large group of individuals working on the project spanning a handful of backgrounds. They include municipalities, urban planners, and even sociologists.
Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said the mobility solution is a “new dimension of mobility” and creates a “huge opportunity” for companies to test flying taxi technology.
The German government did not indicate when it plans to actually test the flying taxi, but the timeline will likely reflect Audi, Airbus, and Italdesign’s progress. At the Pop.Up Next’s debut, none of the companies involved said when prototypes would be ready, let alone did they share a production date. And the concept poses many unique challenges with safety. Car and flight modules require very different operating and safety systems, and if the concept is ever to take off, it needs to operate in both transportation methods seamlessly.
Audi is one of numerous companies vying for a chance to bring a flying taxi to market. Notable competitors include Uber, Lilium, and Volocopter.