According to a media report, Audi has discontinued work on the autonomous electric car drone Pop Up Next, which was presented last year together with Airbus and Italdesign, and intends to reevaluate their cooperation with Airbus.
According to Automotive News Europe, Audi is currently working on a realignment of its urban air mobility strategy and has not yet decided on possible future products.
Audi, together with Airbus and Italdesign, presented the autonomous electric car drone at the Geneva Motor Show in spring 2018. It was a two-seater passenger cabin that can be coupled with either a car or a flight module. In November 2018, during Drone Week, a scaled-down model of Pop Up Next took off for its first public flight.
The original-size, flight-worthy prototype, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, will not be ready on time. “We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles,” Audi told the news portal. “In the modular concept of Pop.Up, we were working on a solution with the highest complexity.” Perhaps too complicated and too expensive, given Audi’s financial situation. Airbus did not want to comment on the possible end of the partnership to Automotive News Europe. However, the company’s project for the CityAirbus passenger drone is to be pursued independently.
The competition is also actively testing these waters, as other car manufacturers are also currently working on autonomously flying cars or financing the development of corresponding air taxi start-ups. Daimler acquired a stake in Volocopter, Volvo’s parent company Geely took over the US American company Terrafugia in 2017 – and recently acquired shares in Volocopter. However, these are pure flying taxis, not as complex modular concepts as Audi had in mind.
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