Futurists have been dreaming of cars that can fly for nearly a century. With this concept from Airbus and Italdesign, the fantasy could move one step closer to reality.
At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Italdesign and Airbus combined forces to introduce an intriguing concept they call Pop.Up. The pitch goes like this: Two decades from now, two-thirds of the earth’s population will live in cities, many of them concentrated in sprawling megacities of 10 million people or more. Road congestion will become a potentially critical problem, choking off transportation within and between these immense urban communities. To ease the congestion on surface streets and highways, the Pop.Up concept opens up the ground transportation system to the third dimension, the skies. In other words, flying cars—the dream of every workbench magazine and science fiction movie for a century or more.
The basic Pop.Up ground transportation unit is a battery-powered electric chassis of roughly Smart ForTwo proportions, which carries a detachable, two-passenger pod and operates much like any self-driving auto of the near future. But when the driver wishes to rise above it all (sorry) an autonomous four-rotor lifting device is summoned, converting the passenger pod into a flying machine much like a current radio-controlled drone, as shown above. Obviously, autonomous vehicle technology is the key to making it all work on road or sky, as the video illustrates.
We can think of some reasons Pop.Up is a potentially great idea, and some other reasons it’s a silly one that will never come to pass. So can you, we expect. Let’s mull it over as we watch the beautifully produced video.