Traveling in two dimensions is so 2016.
Italdesign and Airbus are moving into the third dimension with their Pop-Up concept vehicle.
The modular, fully electric, zero-emissions system can be operated on the ground or in the air, in an attempt to ease traffic congestion in global megacities.
“Adding the third dimension to seamless multi-modal transportation networks will without a doubt improve the way we live and how we get from A to B,” Mathias Thomsen, general manager for Airbus urban air mobility, said in a statement.
Pop.Up is built in three layers: an artificial intelligence platform, a cocoon-like two-passenger capsule that attaches with a ground or air module (a giant drone that latches onto the roof), and the virtual interface module.
By combining the flexibility of a small two-seater ground vehicle with the freedom and speed of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle, Pop.Up ticks all the boxes of modern transportation.
It even comes with a mobile app, which helps identify the best transport solution—ground or air—based on timing, traffic, congestion, costs, and ridesharing demands.
“Today, automobiles are part of a much wider eco-system: If you want to design the urban vehicle of the future, the traditional car cannot alone be the solution for megacities,” Italdesign CEO Jörg Astalosch said. “You also have to think about sustainable and intelligent infrastructure, apps, integration, power systems, urban planning, social aspects, and so on.
“In the next years ground transportation will move to the next level and from being shared, connected and autonomous it will also go multimodal and moving into the third dimension,” he added.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the self-piloted journey. Upon arrival at your destination, the Pop.Up’s smart modules autonomously return to dedicated recharge stations to wait for their next customer.
Unveiled at this week’s 87th Geneva International Motor Show, the concept is not yet ready for primetime. According to CNET, which got a hands-on look at the vehicle, it’s possible trials of the technology will be completed within 10 years.