Move Aside Hybrids. This Car Can Morph Into A Helicopter!
Last year, Airbus (the maker of all those planes that take you all around the world), unveiled a concept that was as unique as it was weird. The car-drone-train mashup, named Pop.Up, didn’t amount to much hype. But this year, with help from Audi and Italdesign, Airbus is showing off it’s latest bizzare offering; the Pop.Up Next.
The Pop.Up Next is based on a two-seater Smart Car-sized monocoque, which Airbus calls the passenger capsule. The capsule can ride along on a base of wheels as a regular car or, with the help of its drone module, be hoisted into the air for vertical flight. Each of the capsules can also be connected to each other to form a train-like vehicle.
Italdesign’s team, which collaborated with Audi and Airbus on creating the demo vehicle on show in Geneva, explains that the Pop.Up system represents a three-part vision for the future. One component is an artificial intelligence that “based on its user knowledge, manages the travel complexity offering alternative usage scenarios and assuring a seamless travel experience.” The second part is the travel module itself and its air and ground attachments. And the third is a user interface that “dialogues with users in a fully virtual environment.” Knowing how hard good software is to design and create, the level of (over)ambition feels roughly equal in all three parts of the Pop.Up Next.
“Pop.Up Next is an ambitious vision that could permanently change our urban life in the future,” says Bernd Martens, an Audi board member and president of Italdesign.
Pop.up Next is significantly lighter than the first concept, and the cabin has been completely reimagined, with a curved 49-inch screen that stretches from pillar to pillar. “Interaction between humans and the machine is performed by speech and face recognition, eye-tracking and a touch function,” the designers say. Which is important because there are no steering wheels, pedals or any other physical controls.
If you’re wondering when you can buy yourself one of these babies, you’ll probably have to wait a bit longer. Aside from the regulatory allowances from cities across the world, the Pop.Up concept was formed to explore what technology can do for our vehicles moving forward. But that isn’t to say that we might not one day own our hybrid car/helicopter.
What do you think of this vehicle? Is it feasible? Would you like to own one? Leave a comment below!