Germany allows Audi and Airbus to start testing their flying cars above Ingolstadt
What's next, teleportation?
The ambitious project may have garnered a lot of attention, but we’re sure no one honestly thought Pop.Up Next would start testing trials too soon. As it turns out it will: Audi announced the start of the “Urban Air Mobility” project in Ingolstadt.
Audi’s interim CEO Bram Schot, Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, Minister of State for Digital Affairs Dorothee Bär, Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini, and Mayor of Ingolstadt Dr. Christian Lösel signed a letter of intent last week in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin that will make air-taxi testing a reality in the Ingolstadt region.
The idea behind “Urban Air Mobility” is to make urban traffic more comfortable and cleaner, as well as save space. More importantly, it’s going to benefit Germany’s high-tech industry if the Pop.Up Next project becomes the first of its kind to go airborne.
While the city of Ingolstadt has accepted to be a test field for air taxis, it doesn’t mean flying cars will become a reality overnight. Nevertheless, it might mean they will be here years from now, rather than decades.
“Flying taxis aren’t a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility. They’re a huge opportunity for companies and young startups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully.”
Andreas Scheuer, German Transport Minister
That’s where the Pop.Up Next all-electric, fully automated concept for horizontal and vertical mobility comes in. A combination between a car and a drone, the study has been penned by Italdesign and consists of an air capsule, a cabin, and a ground module.
The self-flying air module will be provided by Airbus while Audi will supply the ground module. Whether it travels by air or by land, the capsule can accommodate two passengers. In the air, Pop.Up Next has a range of 50 km (without payload) and can travel at speeds of up to 120 km/h (74 mph). On land, the contraption has a driving range of 130 km and can hit a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). In both cases, recharging the batteries takes 15 minutes.
In the first phase of the project, other European cities such as Hamburg and Geneva will also be participating. Neither Audi nor Airbus didn't say when the first flying pods will begin testing.
Story references: Audi, Automotive News