The 1:4 scale model of Pop.Up Next carried out its first completely autonomous test flight during Drone Week - an event dedicated to drones - demonstrating that the mobility of the future will not be limited to individual players, but will become the meeting point for numerous areas of expertise.
Modular and multimodal are two adjectives characterising the mobility of the future, where the boundaries between earth and sky will become increasingly blurred. Designed with this belief in mind, Pop.Up Next is a vehicle jointly developed by Audi, Italdesign and Airbus, which combines a self-driving electric car with a passenger drone. Presented as a concept at the last Geneva Motor Show, the 1:4 scale model of Pop.Up Next took its first fully autonomous test flight during Amsterdam Drone Week, which was then repeated each day of the event.
During the demonstration, the passenger capsule and the ground module moved by road to meet the air module; the capsule then detached from the ground module and raised itself to connect to the air module. This new combination then took off and, after flying the length of the arena – around 80 metres – it landed on a dedicated area on the opposite side, where a second ground module coupled with the capsule, thus ending the simulation.
The dynamic 1:4 scale model demonstrates that the project, which began in 2017 with Pop.Up and continued this year with Pop.Up Next, is proceeding at a steady pace and is entering the full technical development phase. More specifically, the dynamic model serves to test the basic functionality of the perfect alignment required to couple the capsule and release it from the modules.
“With this project, which began with Airbus in 2016, we can demonstrate that the mobility of the future will not be limited to individual players, but will become the meeting point for know how, technologies and professional expertise from a wide range of sectors – automotive, aerospace, city planning and social, to name but a few,” stated Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign, who went on to add: “Future urban mobility is a sector which is still unexplored, which will require significant work in terms of infrastructure, standards and regulations, and relationships with city government and services.”
Source: Volkswagen AG