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Pop.Up Next

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

With the Pop.Up Next, Airbus, Audi and Italdesign have combined a self-driving car and autonomous passenger drone. The Pop.Up Next system is comprised of an air capsule, a cabin and a ground module. An electric car drivetrain with the mobility of an all electric drone, the passenger cabin is transported on land by an Audi chassis and allows air travel via an Airbus drone. It's a modular all electric drone vehicle which transforms from a car to a flying passenger drone and back to a car again.

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 between one to 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."

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.

When flying, the weight of both modules is expected to be 2 metric tons (4,409.25 pounds). 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.

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.

Characteristics (As of March 2018):

Self-flying air module dimensions 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
Rotors 8 (4+4)
Propeller diameter 1780 mm ~5.75 ft
Motor power 20 kW
Total power 160 kW
Self-flying air module range (without payload) 50 km 31 mi
Maximum occupancy/payload 2 passengers
Top speed 150 km/h 81 kts
Battery 70 kWh
Charge time (projected) 15 minutes

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