Autonomous Flying Car: Check Out Audi’s Design Taking Its First Test Flight
Audi’s autonomous flying car took to the skies in model form on Tuesday. The Pop.Up Next, an all-in-one modular machine devised in conjunction with Airbus and Italdesign, consists of a pod that connects to the base of a flight component or the top of an autonomous car component.
The group demonstrated a 1:4 scale model of the pod design at the Amsterdam Drone Week from November 27 to 30, completing one test flight per day in full autonomous mode, showing how the pod completes a ground-based trip in the car before traversing the 88-yard conference arena in an air module, before switching back to a ground module at the other end.
The team first released the design in March 2017, with a 49-inch touchscreen designed to get city commuters from A to B using whatever means is fastest. Users would order the pod from a smartphone app, similar to Uber.
Designed as a concept, Audi claimed that the first such vehicles could reach cities by somewhere around 2024 to 2027.
The Amsterdam exhibition also featured a 1:1 static model of the vehicle, which previously made its debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March.
In March 2018, Italdesign told Inverse that Elon Musk’s 700 mph hyperloop system is “a possible solution that hypothetically could work since Pop.Up is a modular system.”
“With this project, which began with Airbus in 2017, we will demonstrate in practical terms that future mobility will no longer be a playing field for individual companies, each operating in their own specific sector, but will rather become the melting point of know-how, technologies and professional expertise from a wide range of sectors — automotive, aerospace, urban planning, social sciences –- to name but a few,” Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign, said in a statement.
Italdesign shared a series of specifications alongside the Geneva Auto Show appearance. The pod itself measures 2.6 meters (8 feet 8 inches) long, 1.4 meters high (4 feet 7 inches) and 1.5 meters wide (5 feet). It’s capable of holding two passengers, and it has a weight of 200 kg (441 pounds).
The ground module measures 3.1 meters long (10 feet 2 inches), 68 centimeters high (1 foot 11 inches) and 1.9 meters wide (6 feet 2 inches). The module weighs 200 kg (441 pounds).
The ground module has a top speed of 62 mph, powered by a rear-wheel-drive electric motor with total power of 60 kilowatts. It has a range of 80 miles per charge from a 15 kilowatt-hour pack, and a charge time of just 15 minutes.
The air module measures 4.4 meters long (14 feet 5 inches), 84 centimeters high (2 feet 9 inches) and 5 meters wide (16 feet 5 inches). It has eight rotors with a propellor diameter of 1.7 meters (5 feet 10 inches).
The module is powered by eight electric motors with power of 160 kilowatts total, each motor offering 20 kilowatts. It has a range of 31 miles without payload and a charge time of 15 minutes from empty.
Weight for the air module is not provided, but it has an empty weight ratio of 43.9 percent. The total battery capacity is 70 kilowatt-hours. It’s capable of moving at 75 mph.
“Future mobility is an as-yet unexplored sector which, as well as the technical challenges of developing the vehicles, will require a lot of work in the sectors of infrastructure, regulations, relations with city municipalities, services,” Astalosch said.
“Together with Airbus and Audi, we are convinced that our joint project, Pop.Up, will make an important step to find better solutions for urban mobility in megacities,” Astalosch said.
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