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:

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.