Germany plans to test Audi-Airbus flying taxi

Pop.Up Next concept

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.

Pop.Up Next concept

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.

Pop.Up Next concept

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.

Check Also

Bosch and Daimler pick Nvidia AI chip for self-driving cars

Bosch and Daimler, two of Germany's biggest automotive firms, announced Wednesday that they have selected Nvidia's Drive Pegasus artificial intelligence computer chip and supporting software to power their future self-driving systems. The computer chip can handle over 320 trillion operations per second and a terabyte of data bandwidth each and every second...

Tesla reveals plans for Chinese plant as new tariffs start to bite

Tesla has been hinting at a Chinese plant since 2014 and now the automaker has finally confirmed one. Following a meeting Tuesday with Chinese officials, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Shanghai would become the first location for one of its so-called Gigafactories outside the United States. The new plant will be operational in the next two years and at full...