AIRBUS – SCi-FI to reality

Picture the scene: you’ve just finished work. You and a dozen other professionals and students are standing around, gormlessly gazing into smartphones. A queue forms as the bus arrives and patrons tap their HOP cards as they begin to board.

The location of your bus stop and the time you finish work means you can never get a seat; you’re trapped between messenger bags that graze your legs and the faint sounds of ‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam in the distance (there’s nothing wrong with Pearl Jam by the way).

If public transport grinds your gears as much as mine, then take solace in the Pop.Up, the first modular, fully electric, zero emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded cities.

Designed by Italdesign and Airbus and unveiled at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, the Pop.Up vehicle combines the flexibility of a small two-seater ground vehicle with the freedom and speed of a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle, bridging the gap between the automotive and aerospace domains.

That’s right folks, in the future you’ll be able to ride in capsules that are fit for the skies and the open road – no more awkward moments and squeezing through passengers to get off at your stop.
Riding on the Pop.Up is simple – plan your journey and book a trip via an app. The system automatically suggests the best mode of transport according to trip specifics and passengers’ preferences. The capsule transforms into a city car by simply attaching to a ground module. When roads are congested, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is carried by an air module, becoming a self-piloted urban air vehicle that avoids roads altogether.

Marius Bebesel, head of CityAirbus, says while the arrival of the Pop.Up is still a while away, its technology is not too far off: “while Pop.Up relies on future technologies that are not yet mature enough, such as electric propulsion and sense-and-avoid technology, the basic idea of the vehicle is feasible. Airbus is already working on real demonstrators, which will be flying in the next couple of years.”

No news yet whether you’ll be able to play Pearl Jam in the Pop.Up, but at least you’ll be able to cut that commute time down to a fraction of what it was, and skip those pesky messenger bags along the way.