Air­bus’ Fly­ing Car

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - CONTENTS -

Air­bus, the air­craft man­u­fac­turer, came up with a crazy idea to change the way we travel with Pop Up, a con­cep­tual twopas­sen­ger pod that clips to a set of wheels, hangs un­der a quad­copter, links with oth­ers to cre­ate a train, and even zips through a hyper­loop tube. The fact is that air travel never in­volves air travel alone. City to city trans­port usu­ally goes some­thing like car or cab to train to shut­tle to the ter­mi­nal where you catch a plane, only to re­verse the process at the other end, of­ten with a lit­tle run­ning some­where along the line for good mea­sure.

This crazy con­cept blurs the once- firm lines be­tween planes, trains, and au­to­mo­biles to let peo­ple take to the skies when traf­fic backs up. In other words, it’s a fly­ing car. A re­ally cool fly­ing car, cooked up with help from Italde­sign and un­veiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2017, but still, a fly­ing car. Far­fetched, yes, but Air­bus says it is tak­ing the idea se­ri­ously. “Adding the third di­men­sion to seam­less multi-modal trans­porta­tion net­works will, with­out a doubt, im­prove the way we live, and how we get from

A to B,” said Mathias Thom­sen, gen­eral man­ager for ur­ban air mo­bil­ity at Air­bus.

Around town, the car­bon fiber pod cou­ples with an elec­tric ground mod­ule and rolls along on a rather con­ven­tional four wheels. It’s au­tonomous, of course, be­cause ev­ery­thing is in the fu­ture. If you don’t want to creep along in grid­locked traf­fic, sim­ply sum­mon an eight-ro­tor air mod­ule that re­sem­bles a su­per­sized con­sumer drone. Clip in, take off, and en­joy a range that, should this tech­nol­ogy ever ac­tu­ally work, will max out at about 60 miles. What­ever mode to choose, the Pop.Up parks it­self at a recharg­ing sta­tion upon ar­rival.

But Air­bus and Italde­sign haven’t com­mit­ted to any sort of time­frame for this one, but as hu­mans pack into in­creas­ingly dense global mega-cities, they’ll need new ideas for trans­port to avoid grid­lock.

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