Audi, Airbus Test Flying Taxi Prototype

Audi AG and Airbus SE tested a one-fourth size prototype of their Pop.Up next flying car concept at this week’s Amsterdam Drone Week conference. 

During the tests, a detachable passenger pod landed on a self-driving ground module. The partners aim to test a full-size prototype next year and launch commercial applications sometime next decade.

The passenger pod can connect to either an electric skateboard chassis or a large flying drone. The ground and air portions of the system are designed to operate autonomously as a self-driving/flying taxi.

Airbus collaborated with Audi and Volkswagen Group’s Italdesign unit on the project. In June, the partners signed a letter of intent with German authorities to test the system in Ingolstadt as part of European Union initiative to develop “smart” cities and next-generation urban transportation technologies.

To better understand customer needs, Audi and Airbus’ Voom subsidiary are conducting tests in Brazil and Mexico. In these programs, users who book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo are immediately met by a standard Audi vehicle at their landing site.