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Airbus Italdesign Pop.Up Next (concept design)

Airbus Audi Italdesign Pop.Up Next passenger eVTOL road car concept design vehicle

 

Pop.Up Next (concept design)
Airbus, Italdesign
Moncalieri, Italy
website

With the Pop.Up Next, Airbus and Italdesign (Italdesign is a subsidiary of Audi) have combined a self-driving car and autonomous passenger drone. The Pop.Up Next system is comprised of a passenger capsule, drone module and a ground vehicle. The electric vehicle provides advanced air mobility (AAM) of an all-electric passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and will also provide ground travel with an Audi car chassis. The Pop.UP next is modular all-electric vehicle which transforms from a car to a flying passenger eVTOL aircraft (or passenger drone) and back to a car again. (Image credit: Italdesign)

Airbus and Italdesign Pop.Up Next information graphic
Airbus and Italdesign Pop.Up Next information graphic

Pop.Up Next passenger eVTOL and roadable concept design vehicle
The Pop.Up Next is a two passenger eVTOL and roadable concept design self-driving and self-flying vehicle. The cockpit information display screen is envisioned to be 124 cm (49 in) wide, providing flight information, city information and will provide entertainment, such as internet access or the local news.

The inventors envision a future where mobility will be extremely convenient for anyone. This will allow those people who can't drive, children and seniors will have access (through a cell phone app) to on-demand advanced ground mobility and advanced air mobility (AAM). In addition, the capsule is foreseen to be an intermodal capsule able to connect to and ride on special underground rail cars in a subway. Furthermore, this vehicle concept design will allow passengers to relax, take a nap, spend time with others or work when traveling.

The expected maximum cruise speed in the air is 150 km/h (93 mph) and the anticipated flight range is 50 km (31 m). The forecasted maximum road speed is 100 km/h (62 mph) with an intended ground range of 130 km (81 m). The empty weight of passenger capsule and drone is projected to be 2,000 kg (4,409 lb). There is no information on the maximum payload weight of the passenger capsule.

The drone has eight propellers, eight electric motors and is powered by battery packs. The ground vehicle module has four wheels, four electric motors and is powered by battery packs. Passengers will enter the passenger capsule and either use it for ground transportation or a drone will attach itself to the capsule and release the capsule from the ground vehicle and then fly to its intended destination.

All modules are expected to made from carbon fiber composite material for a high strength and low weight ratio. All specifications concerning this concept design vehicle are estimates and the actual specifications would only be known if a full-scale pre-production prototype was made with ground and flight testing. The inventors also reminded people, one of the key factors for this three module vehicle to work as intended in a sprawling urban environment will be high density batteries.

Pop.Up Next battery pack layout for air module, passenger capsule and ground module

Pop.Up Next battery pack layout for air module, passenger capsule and ground module

Battery technology
As of March 2019, there is no battery technology available to power the vehicle as intended and the connectivity technology has not been fully completed at this time which must be 100 times faster than current 4G/LTE speeds for autonomous vehicles like this to work. In addition, regulatory laws will need to be made for Pop.Up Next to be allowed to fly in a real world situation.

Compared to the original Pop.Up design, the Pop.Up Next concept has a redesigned passenger or transport capsule. It's lighter, more aerodynamic, more spacious and updated with the latest interactive technology. It can carry one or two people and there has also been an increase in range and speed.

Pop.Up is "the first modular, fully electric, zero-emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded megacities."

"At the Geneva Autosalon from 8 to 18 March, Audi, Italdesign, and Airbus are presenting “Pop.Up Next”, an entirely electric, fully automatic concept for horizontal and vertical mobility. In the distant future this vehicle could transport people in cities quickly and conveniently on the road and in the air, at the same time-solving traffic problems. The dominant interior feature is a 49-inch screen, while interaction between humans and the machine is performed by speech and face recognition, eye-tracking and a touch function."

Beginnings of the project
Italdesign started this project in 2016. The original Pop.Up concept was detailed in a March 2017 article here: Airbus Decides to Pop Up. Then during Drone Week in Amsterdam on November 27, 2018, a one quarter (1/4) scale model of the device flown for the first time. The drone portion of the vehicle has two skids and eight propellers, mounted in pairs, on four metal arms. This air module will automatically connect to the cabin before flying, then place the passenger cabin on the car module portion when it arrives to its destination, all autonomously, so the passengers will never have to fly or do any driving, when using Pop.Up Next.

Future
The inventors of Pop.Up Next acknowledge they are still far away from actual passengers using this completely new form of air/road autonomous transportation module vehicle but are quite hopeful that all hurdles will be overcome in the future. The inventors envision this vehicle will merge well with smart cities. With that said, a full scale prototype is projected to fly in 2020.

Pop.Up Next at city landing pad

Pop.Up Next at city landing pad

Pop.Up Next flying over city, three quarter front view

Pop.Up Next flying over city, three quarter front view

Pop.Up Next flying over city, high-angle oblique top view

Pop.Up Next flying over city, high-angle oblique top view

Pop.Up Next glass cockpit

Pop.Up Next glass cockpit

Pop.Up Next side view of interior

Pop.Up Next side view of interior

Pop.Up Next interior, top view

Pop.Up Next interior, top view

Pop.Up Next sketches

Pop.Up Next sketches

Pop.Up Next mock-up at a trade show

Pop.Up Next mock-up at a trade show

Pop.Up Next mock-up at a trade show

Pop.Up Next mock-up at a trade show

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Passenger flying eVTOL and driveable car concept design vehicle
  • Piloting: Self-flying
  • Capacity: 2 passengers and luggage
  • Maximum cruise speed (air): 150 km/h (93 mph)
  • Flight range of self-flying module: 50 km (31 m)
  • Maximum road speed (ground module): 100 km/h (62 mph)
  • Ground range: 130 km (81 m)
  • Empty weight of passenger capsule and drone module: 2,000 kg (4,409 lb)
  • Maximum payload weight: Unknown
  • Propellers: 8 propellers
  • Propeller diameter: 178 cm (~5 ft, 10 in)
  • Electric motors (for propellers): 8 electric motors (Each motor is 20 kW, total 160 kW)
  • Electric motors (for the ground module): 4 electric motors
  • Power source: 70 kWh battery packs
  • Projected charge time: 15 minutes
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Self-flying air module dimension: 4403 mm L X 847 mm H X 5000 mm W (14.5 ft L X 2.75 ft H X 16.5 ft W)
  • Cockpit glass screen width: 124 cm (49 in)
  • Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left and right visibility for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
  • Landing: The passenger capsule lands on top of and connects to the vehicle base and the drone disconnects to recharge or to connect to another passenger capsule
  • Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) means having multiple propellers (or electric ducted fans) and multiple electric motors on an aircraft so if one or more propellers (or electric ducted fans) or some electric motors fail, the other working propellers (or electric ducted fans) and electric motors can safely land the aircraft. DEP provides safety through redundancy for its passengers or cargo. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft providing safety through redundancy for its passengers or cargo. Having multiple redundant systems on any aircraft decreases having any single point of failure.

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