Developed jointly with European aerospace giant Airbus, the Italdesign Pop.Up concept is a unique take at autonomous multi-modal transportation that includes the option of using a giant drone to fly the passenger cabin into and out of city centers.

The two-passenger Pop.Up features a small capsule weighing about 450 pounds that nestles on a skateboard-like electric vehicle. The fully autonomous Pop.Up can be used as part of a ride hailing service that has the added ability to be detached from the wheeled base and lifted into the air with a large 8-rotor electric-powered drone. While the battery-powered drone is not meant for intercity travel, Airbus believes that it would be capable enough to transport the capsule across a major metropolitan area like Los Angeles or New York.

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Multi-modal ability

Users would hail the Pop.Up through an app, enter a destination and the service would offer the customer a choice of transportation options of either ground transportation as an EV, perhaps train or hyperloop transport of the capsule or being picked up by the drone and whisked through the air to their destination. Of course, all three modes would be appropriately priced, with the flight portion most likely the most expensive option.

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According to Airbus, the three modes of transportation could lead to a reduction of congestion in urban areas. “Adding a third dimension to seamless multi-modal transportation networks will without a doubt improve the way we live and how we get from A to B,” said Mathias Thomsen, general manager for Urban Air Mobility at Airbus. “Successfully designing and implementing solutions that will work both in the air and on the ground requires a joint reflection on the part of both aerospace and automotive sectors, alongside collaboration with local government bodies for infrastructure and regulatory frameworks. Italdesign, with its long track record of exceptional vehicle design was an exciting partner for Airbus for this unique concept project.”


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