It’s been a couple of months since we heard from Airbus regarding its incredibly ambitious plan to make flying taxis a reality by the end of 2017. Well, the company just came out with a new video showing what it thinks is the future of driverless taxi services, and there’s truly no way to properly explain just how insane it is.
Airbus calls its flying car platform Pop.Up, but that quirky name belies a truly wild vision for urban transportation. Pop.Up is essentially a passenger compartment shaped like a pod that is either fixed to a completely separate, four-wheeled autonomous driving platform, or a massive drone-like quadcopter that carries it aloft. The idea being that when traffic is too bad, the self-driving pod navigates itself to a docking area where the drone automatically flies over and scoops the passenger pod right out off the ground.
For starters it’s important to recognize that this concept can’t possibly be what Airbus actually has in mind for a launch timeline of the end of the 2017, or even the end of 2020. The conceptual technology shown in the video isn’t just not here yet, it’s at least several years away, not to mention the myriad regulations and legal hurdles that would prevent such a system from operating anywhere near an urban center. At this point, it’s a cool a video and very little else.
It’s still unclear exactly what Airbus has planned for release by the end of the year, or what form it will take, but it most certainly will look nothing like this.