Italdesign & Airbus Introduce A Flying Concept Car For The Future Of Urban Living

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Pop.Up envisages a modular system for multi-modal transportation that makes full use of both ground and airspace. The feasible concept is the result of joint reflection by Airbus and Italdesign on how to address the mobility challenges of megacities achievable for a majority, which has become one of the most pressing issues for commuters in megacities worldwide. 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 multi-modal urban mobility system – giving rise to the Pop.Up concept.

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The Pop.Up system aims to give time back to commuters through a flexible, shared and adaptable new way of moving within cities that introduces a new user-focused transportation system concept. The vehicle combines the flexibility of a small two-seater road vehicle with the freedom and speed of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle, thus bridging the automotive and aerospace domains.

Pop.Up’s modus operandi is simple. Passengers plan their journey and book their trip via an easy-to-use app, and the system automatically suggests the best transport solution based on user knowledge, timing, traffic congestion, costs and ride-sharing demands. The system then joins either the air or ground module or other means of transportation to the passenger capsule, and follows passengers’ preferences and needs.

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At the heart of the concept is a capsule designed to accommodate two passengers. This high-tech, monocoque carbon-fibre cocoon measures 2.6 metres long, 1.4 metres high and 1.5 metres wide. The capsule transforms itself into a city car by simply coupling to the ground module, which features a carbon-fibre chassis and is battery-powered. For megacity journeys with highly congested traffic, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is carried by a 5 x 4.4 metre air module propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors. In this configuration, Pop.Up becomes a plying urban self-piloted vehicle, taking advantage of city skies to get from A to B efficiently whilst avoiding road traffic congestion. Once passengers reach their destination, the air and ground modules with the capsule autonomously return to dedicated recharge stations to wait for their next customers.

Thanks to the possibility of combining the capsule with other means of public transportation, the Pop.Up offers a seamless travel experience. The user can stay for the entire journey in the same capsule without worrying about switching between different travel modes and enjoy the entire commute time, with real-time interaction between the capsule and the surrounding urban environment and communities.

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Story originally appeared on Torque.

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