Audi and Airbus to trial flying taxis in Germany
Audi’s home city of Ingolstadt is to play host to trials of flying taxis developed by the carmaker and Airbus as part of an EU initiative that could help solve road congestion.
The two firms announced this spring that they had teamed up with design/engineer company Italdesign to develop an electric autonomous flying taxi concept, building on the initial Pop.Up concept shown last year at Geneva.
Dubbed ‘Pop.Up Next’, the latest concept features a two-seater passenger cabin that can be attached either to a car chassis or to a drone and features a 49-inch screen along with facial recognition, eye-tracking and a touch function to enable passengers to communicate with the technology.
Now, the two firms along with the German Federal Minister of Transport and other representatives of politics and business have announced the start of the Urban Air Mobility project, which will provide a model for air-taxi test operation in the Ingolstadt region.
The project is part of an EU initiative in the context of the marketplace for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities (SCC), which also includes other European cities such as Hamburg and Geneva.
Audi CEO Bram Schot said: “Connected, electric and autonomous cars will make urban traffic more comfortable and cleaner and will save space – that means better quality of life for people in cities. This is where mobility in the third dimension can make a valuable contribution in the future.
“We would like to use our know-how to improve urban life, and aim to develop new mobility concepts for cities and people’s various needs with the Urban Air Mobility project.”