Airbus is proposing a new solution for avoiding rush hour: fly over it.
The aircraft manufacturer revealed its vision for a car that can be airlifted by a drone on Tuesday. Called the Pop.Up system, the car-drone combo is making its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, which opens to the public March 9. Airbus designed the system with Italdesign, a design and engineering company.
The key component of the Pop.Up system is a capsule that is 2.5 meters (8 feet) long and 1.4 meters (4.6 feet) high that can house passengers. That capsule can attach to a battery-powered chassis to become a two-seater electric car.
Airbus says that without the capsule, the chassis can drive 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a single charge – so you’re not looking at a long-range vehicle concept here.
The Pop.Up’s modular design means the capsule can easily unhook from its chassis and get airlifted by an accompanying drone that’s autonomous and powered by 8 rotors. (Airbus doesn’t provide any insight as to what happens to the chassis once it’s left behind.)
Passengers can summon the drone using a smartphone app that can also suggest the best transport solutions, factoring in traffic, ride-sharing demand, and cost.
Airbus even said the capsule could be paired with other futuristic transport systems, like the Hyperloop.
Airbus didn’t say whether the Pop.Up will come out of concept mode, but it seems unlikely we’ll see anything like it soon. However, Airbus is seriously pursuing using Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) vehicles for urban commutes.
Airbus is working on an electric, single-passenger aircraft for urban transit as part of its Project Vahana. Airbus is also building a flying taxi named CityAirbus as part of a project that’s separate from Vahana.