Next time you’re caught in a traffic jam, this might be the solution. No, it’s not Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but like that story, an idea that once seemed a dream may soon be a reality. Visitors to the International Motor Show in Geneva this week probably thought Airbus had got the wrong address. But on March 7th, they saw it revealing a world first - its 100% electric Pop.Up concept vehicle, aimed at revolutionising the way we travel – especially in over congested megacities like London or Los Angeles.
Teaming up with ItalDesign, Airbus has opted for a sleek, two-seater pod capable of whizzing along equally smoothly at over 60 miles per hour (100km/h) on roads, railways or in the air. In case of gridlock, the multi-modular capsule can disconnect from its wheels and take to the city skies. A module equipped with eight counter-rotating rotors vertically lifts the lightweight, carbon-fibre cocoon into the air and hovers towards a destination. Passengers will plan and book their trip through a simple app, while an Artificial Intelligence platform manages their trip and offers them various options. All they have to do next is sit back, relax and enjoy the trip in full autopilot mode.
"It combines ground with the air and allows passengers a seamless and faster way of getting from A-to-B using the city sky," said Mathias Thomsen, General Manager for Urban Air Mobility at Airbus.
"Right now, the urban sky is quite under utilised. The grid-like layout of road doesn't actually do it for us, and we think that by combining air and ground we will get a much better use of the space in our cities."
Airbus has already announced that it’s planning to start test flights on a self-piloted personal aircraft by the end of this year. Other companies, like China’s EHang 184, are working on flying taxis, or even flying motorbikes. Watch this space.