Aviation

Audi and Airbus test flying taxi concept in Amsterdam

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Remember the Pop.Up Next modular concept? Well, a 1:4 scale model was tested at the Drone Week in Amsterdam recently.

As we can see in the pictures, the concept consists of a drone, a passenger capsule and an autonomous driving platform. In the first public test flight, the flight module accurately placed the passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously.

Although still a scale model, Audi expects this to be in operation in the coming decade. Without changing vehicles, passengers can enjoy their leisure time, relax, or work, the company says.

“More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation. In future senior citizens, children, and people without a driver’s license 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,” said Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of the Audi subsidiary Italdesign.

To see what an on-demand service of this kind could be like, Audi is conducting tests in South America in association with the Airbus subsidiary Voom. Customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, while an Audi is ready for the journey to or from the landing site. “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,” added Martens.

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