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Audi and Airbus to Test Flying Taxis in Ingolstadt

Audi and Aiburs Pop.Up Next 12 photos
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 The Pop.Up Next flying car concept presented by Audi, Italdesign and Airbus at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show might at one point become a common sight in the skies over Ingolstadt.
On Wednesday, the carmaker announced the start of the Urban Air Mobility project and received the support of the German Federal Minister of Transport. The government signed a letter of intent with Audi, Airbus and several other businesses that would allow for the creation of a model for air-taxi test operation.

“We would like to use our know-how to improve urban life, and aim to develop new mobility concepts for cities and people’s various needs with the Urban Air Mobility project,” said Bram Schot, the man who replaces for the time being Rupert Stadler at the helm of the company.

“In the distant future, concepts such as Pop.Up Next is to transport people quickly and comfortably on the roads and in the air in large cities, thus solving traffic problems.”

The project is still in its infancy, and Audi stopped short of providing additional details. The whats and hows of Urban Air Mobility are at the moment unknown.

The move made on Wednesday by Audi and Airbus is in line with the global trend of finding solutions for solving congestion problems in major cities. This trend was started by Uber, which for a while now has made clear its intention of creating an airborne mobility solution for urban areas. Back in May, Airbus announced the creation of the special urban mobility division, signalling it will take this new business very seriously.

But whereas Uber is trying to build from scratch a flying car-drone of sorts, Audi and Airbus plan to use a multi-functional platform.

For the Pop.Up Next, the carmaker supplied the ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin, while Airbus provided the flight module. Audi’s cabin can be attached either to a car or to the flying apparatus.

In the concept shown in March, the interior of the cabin boasts a TV-like 49-inch screen which relays information back to the passengers. The autonomous system uses speech and face recognition to allow humans to control it. Additional control can be achieved via eye-tracking technology and touching the screen.

Although it's doubtful we’ll get to see flying taxis during our lifetime, going up instead of sideways is perhaps the best solution for crowded cities.

 
 
 
 
 

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