At Drone Week in Amsterdam recently, Audi, Airbus and Italdesign presented for the time a flying and driving prototype for their Pop.Up Next flying taxi
The concept for a flying taxi combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone.
In the first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously. This is still a 1:4 scale model but the team says Audi customers could be using such a flying taxi service in large cities in the next decade.
Dr Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of Audi subsidiary, Italdesign, said: “Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that. More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation.”
“Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that.”
Martens added: “In future, senior citizens, children and people without a driver’s licence will want to use convenient robot taxis. If we succeed in making a smart allocation of traffic between roads and airspace, people and cities can benefit in equal measure.”
Audi is conducting tests in South America in cooperation with the Airbus subsidiary, Voom. Customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo. An Audi is made available for the journey to or from the landing site.
Dr. Martens said: “Services like this help us to understand our customers’ needs better. Because in the future, flying taxis will appeal to a wide range of city dwellers.
“With Pop.Up Next we are simultaneously exploring the boundaries of what is technically possible. The next step is for a full-size prototype to fly and drive.”
Audi is also supporting the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Initiative, part of the European Innovation Partnership in Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). Supported by the European Commission, the project is aiming to help educate the public about the benefits of urban air mobility and answer questions concerning battery technology, regulation, certification, and infrastructure.