AUDI HAS proudly declared “flying taxis are on the way” after conducting the first public test flight of the vehicle it’s been developing with Airbus.
Though the Pop.Up being demonstrated at the Amsterdam Drone Week expo was only a 1:4 scale model, rather than a full-sized vehicle, Audi is still satisfied with how the flight went. As well as successfully landing the passenger compartment onto the wheeled “ground module”, the taxi was also able to drive away autonomously.
According to Dr Bernd Martens, the president of ItalDesign (a fully-owned Audi subsidiary), the success of this test will now mean “next step is for a full-size prototype to fly and drive”.
Dr Martens added: “Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that”.
It’s currently unclear where these larger mock-ups will be trialled. Since the mayor of Ingolstadt co-signed a “letter of intent” with Audi and Airbus to develop a “model for air-taxi test operation” in the area, it’s possible the Pop.Up Next prototypes could soon take to the skies near the German city.
In addition to the flying tests, Audi is also gathering feedback on how the flying taxi service could be structured. For example, active trials in Sao Paulo and Mexico City are having people book helicopter flights, with Audi vehicles driving the test subjects driven to and from the landing site.