Audi has unveiled the next version of their flying car concept.
Back in 2017, Audi shocked the world with their Pop.Up flying car concept. Introduced at that year’s Geneva Motor Show, the Pop.Up gave us a realistic look at what a real flying car experience might look like—not the flying saucers of last century’s science fiction writers, but with enormous quadcopter drones that pick up and carry passengers from destination to destination.
“Last year Pop.Up marked a new — and as we believe highly significant — chapter in the transportation sector by bringing together two worlds, road mobility and air transport, which had never previously met,” said Jörg Astalosch, CEO of Italdesign.
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Now, in cooperation with Volkswagen design house Italdesign and aerospace firm Airbus, Audi has unveiled the next generation of their Pop.Up concept.
Called Pop.Up Next, the latest version of their flying car is an iterative improvement over last year’s concept. The overall design remains largely the same: a pod capable of carrying two passengers is transferred from a fully-electric ground-bound chassis to a flying drone capable of carrying that same pod to its final destination.
The differences are largely aesthetic, with the Pop.Up Next sporting a more angular, more aerodynamic profile courtesy of Airbus’ research into the pod’s airflow properties. Audi contributes to the project with battery and automation software, while Italdesign handles the overall concept.
The new Pop.Up is lighter than the previous model thanks to the greater use of aluminum in the chassis, as well as redesigned seats that take their cue from the aeronautics industry.
Inside the passenger pod is an enormous 49-inch touchscreen that replaces the dashboard on a regular car. Passengers interact with a combination of facial recognition, eye-tracking, and voice commands to tell the car where you want to go.
As an urban runabout, the performance specs aren’t all that impressive. Ground speed is about 100 kph (62 mph), while airspeed is a little faster at 120 kph (75 mph). Charging can be done in 15 minutes via quick charge stations, and aerial range is limited to 50 km (31 miles).
Since the aerial portion is envisioned as a last-step between you and the airport, it’s not a horrible thing to have such limited range. We’d definitely recommend sticking to the manufacturers’ estimate on that one.