Audi gets in on the flying car action with Airbus and Italdesign

Darrell Etherington

The Geneva Motor Show is home to many supercars and outlandish apparitions, but the collaboration between Italdesign, Audi and Airbus on the Pop.Up Next flying car concept is one of the more out there. It's an updated version fo the Pop.Up that Italdesign and Airbus brought to the show last year, this time including an Audi-branded components of the modular flying/driving system.

The addition of Audi brings some car smarts, including expertise in battery electric ground-based vehicles and autonomous driving, while Airbus has been refining its quadcopter top and working together with the design firm and the automaker on how to better hand off the two-seat passenger capsule between the wheels on the ground and the rotors in the sky.

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The capsule itself features its own built-in battery pack, which then pairs up with larger batteries in both the ground module (aka big skateboard) and the air module (the drone-looking thing). The passenger module itself is little more than a reinforced cockpit, with large, nearly full glass doors for easy ingress and egress.

What I like about this design is that it eliminates a lot of the issues around how and where a flying-driving vehicle would land, and what kind of expertise would be required to operate it, both of which are huge sticking points on the PAL-V, for instance. But PAL-V aims to ship soon, whereas a lot of product development work needs to move beyond the R&D phase to make this Italdesign/Airbus/Audi concept a reality.

Still, it could make for some super great chase scenes in movies.

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