Airbus Wants to Test Its Flying Car Prototype

Airbus Wants to Test Its Flying Car Prototype
An artist’s conceptual rendering of Airbus autonomous taxis.

During the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, Italdesign and Airbus world-premiered Pop.Up, the first modular, fully electric, zero emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded megacities. Pop.Up envisages a modular system for multi-modal transportation that makes full use of both ground and airspace. More info: http://www.airbusgroup.com/popup-story

Airbus’s interest in autonomous aircraft for urban transportation has taken another step with the unveiling of a modular ground/air vehicle concept developed jointly with famed automotive design house Italdesign. Unveiled on March 7 at the Geneva International Motor Show, the Pop.Up concept vehicle comprises a two-seat self-driving passenger capsule that can couple with separate electric-powered ground and air modules. The capsule could also connect to other modes of transport.

The aviation giant wants the autonomous flying taxis to work like ride-share services.

Airbus Group announced on Jan 16, 2017 that it plans to test an autonomous airborne taxi prototype for one passenger by the end of 2017, according to a report from Reuters. The aviation giant sees flying taxis as the next logical step in urban transportation, and hopes ultimately to develop a network of these vehicles that can be hailed with an app in the style of car-sharing services.

As the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial helicopters, not to mention a wide variety of civil and military planes, Airbus seems well situated to lead the way in developing a self-flying taxi for the city of tomorrow. Still, realizing a production “flying car” by the early 2020s is a lofty goal, especially considering that Airbus is committed to making these vehicles 100 percent electric. If we see a prototype fly before the year is out, we’ll start getting ready to hail a sky taxi.