Airliner manufacturer Airbus has launched its concept for a passenger drone capable of morphing into a car at the Geneva Motor Show.
The conceptual model, titled the Pop.Up, envisions a transport option made up of a 2.5m x 1.4m x 1.5m pod. The capsule can both attach to a chassis on roads to transform into a two-seater electric car, and detach from the chassis to be picked up by an airborne drone.
The artificial-intelligence-powered transport has been deemed a solution to congestion on major city roads, with Airbus promising it will provide a “seamless travel experience”.
“Pop.Up envisages a modular system for multi-modal transportation that makes full use of both ground and airspace,” said the Airbus press release accompanying the design.
“With traffic congestion projected to hugely increase by 2030, the companies decided to combine their engineering expertise to tackle how to best achieve a sustainable, modular and multimodal urban mobility system.”
Airbus stated that they intended the Artificial Intelligence system be controlled through a smartphone app. Passengers would plan out their journey in the app, and the Pop.Up would provide the best solution by joining either the airborne or ground-based module. It would also be responsive to the needs and preferences of the passenger as indicated.
There is no indication that this concept will come to fruition any time soon, and proposed features like zero-emission motors are still problems that need to be solved before this can be considered a possibility. The range of the motor has also been highlighted as a development point by Airbus, saying that the road chassis is only capable of a 100km journey on a single charge, without the pod attached. Longevity issues will obviously be a stumbling block to pass in the hypothetical manufacture of the system.
Airbus has placed no time frame on the project, while it focuses currently on its plans for an electric, single-passenger aircraft as part of its Project Vahana.