Motor show, like the one currently taking place at Geneva, isn’t just a chance to show off the latest and soon to be latest cars and automotive technologies. It is also a chance to call dibs on a vision of the future of car tech. That is exactly what Airbus, a name more associated with planes, did at the Geneva International Motor Show. Partnering with service company Italdesign, Airbus revealed the Pop.Up concept, a modular take on the soon to be real flying car vehicle.
When you think of flying cars, especially the ones being sold by the likes of PAL-V, usually come in a 2-in-1 form. That is, the vehicle converts between a car and a plane of some sort as the need arises. In contrast, the Airbus Pop.Up is more like a 3-in-1, or, to be even more precise, more like LEGO.
The Pop.Up system is composed of three physical components. There is a passenger capsule where the rider sits in. There is a ground module that attaches to the bottom of the passenger capsule to give it wheels. But when you need to take flight, a giant quadcopter drone swoops in, attaches to the top of the passenger capsule, and takes off with it, leaving the ground module behind.
If leaving bits and pieces of your car feels odd by today’s standards, that’s because Pop.Up isn’t envisioned to be your conventional, privately-owned vehicle. Instead, it is meant more to be a service, like Uber or Lyft, that you can hail as needed. And you don’t even need to know how to drive the thing. In short, Airbus’ Pop.Up combines flying cars, Uber/Lyft, and self-driving cars.
Unlike the PAL-V Liberty flying car, which already went on pre-order last month, the Airbus Pop.Up is a concept through and through, without even a working prototype yet. Airbus, however, believes that such a device is certainly possible in 7 to 10 years, especially given the combine resources, not to mention ambition, of two companies.