Airbus’ Flying Car
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.