Is it a car? Is it a plane? Is it a robot?
PUBLISHED: 15:40 21 April 2017
All three according to Italdesign and Airbus, who displayed at the Geneva International Motor Show in March Pop.Up, an 'electric, zero-emissions, multi-mode modular vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded megacities that makes full use of both ground and airspace.'
The Pop.Up System consists of three elements: an artificial intelligence platform; a vehicle shaped as a passenger capsule designed to be coupled with two different and independent electrically propelled modules (ground and air); and ‘an interface module that dialogues with users in a fully virtual environment.’
At the heart of the concept is a monocoque carbonfibre passenger capsule which transforms itself into a city car by coupling to the battery-powered ground module’s chassis. To escape road traffic, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is carried by an air module propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors. Once passengers reach their destination, air and ground modules autonomously return to recharge stations to wait for their next customers.
‘The Pop.Up... [bridges] the automotive and aerospace domains,’ Airbus says. ‘Pop.Up’s modus operandi is simple: passengers plan their journey and book their trip via an easy-to-use app. The system automatically suggests the best transport solution according to user knowledge, timing, traffic congestion, costs and ridesharing demands, joining either the air or ground module or other means of transportation to the passenger capsule, and following passengers’ preferences and needs.
‘Thanks to the possibility of combining the capsule also with other means of public transportation, the Pop.Up offers a seamless travel experience.
The user can stay for the entire journey in the same capsule without worrying about switching between different travel modes and enjoy the entire commute time, with real time interaction between the capsule and the surrounding urban environment and communities.