For decades, people have been toying with the idea of cars being able to fly in the sky. There have been several concepts presented before, including cars with wings. Now at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, a new concept of a flying car is being presented by Italdesign and Airbus – the new Pop.Up modular system for air and ground transport.
The Pop-up Concept is a modular, fully electric zero emission concept that makes use of both ground and air travel, thereby helping relieve traffic congestion that has become one of the challenges in megacities. By offering the flexibility advantage of using both ground and air for moving from place to another, the Pop.up concept could become a user-focused mobility solution of the future.
Actually, the new Pop.Up concept is not just one vehicle – but is a combination of two vehicles covering two different routes (ground and air). Passengers will primarily be carried in a small two seater capsule carried by a ground module, with the availability of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air unit. capsule comes in form of a high-tech, carbon-fiber monocoque. Measuring 2.6 meters in length, 1.5 meters in width and 1.4 meters in height, the capsule could be attached to the ground module for land travel, thereby becoming a city car. The capsule could also be attached to the air module for sky transport, thereby becoming a VTOL vehicle.
The all-electric ground module is underpinned by a carbon fiber chassis with four wheels, while the air fully electric module – measuring 5 meters in length and 4.4 meters in width – flies off with eight counter-rotating rotors.
According to the companies, the Pop.Up System concept features three layers. It includes an Artificial Intelligence platform that takes care of managing the travel no matter how complex it is; a passenger capsule with the ground module and the air module; and an interface module that dialogues with its users in a virtual environment.
Essentially, the Pop.Up concept is an autonomous (self-driven and self-propelled) system that is both shared and connected, serving as a door-to-door transportation service in which passengers book a trip through an app. Once a passenger is picked up, the system automatically suggests the best transport solution. Depending on the situation – as assessed by the system considering user knowledge, timing and traffic congestion – the capsule may become a ground vehicle or an air transport unit. Once the passenger reaches the destination and gets off the capsule, the ground and air modules will return to their respective recharging stations.
If implemented and once certain concerns are address, this Pop-up concept by Italdesign and Airbus could prove to be a major breakthrough in future mobility in megacities around the world.