Airbus has unveiled Pop.Up, a multimodal passenger transport concept designed to resolve traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities.
Traffic congestion is projected to cost $350bn a year in the EU and the US by 2030, and studies suggest that by 2030, there will be 41 megacities worldwide, with more than 5 billion people living in cities.
Airbus has teamed up with an Italian design company, Italdesign, to propose an emission-free, multimodal and modular concept for the urban environment. The concept was unveiled at the 87th Geneva International Motor Show.
The concept vehicle consists of three main components:
- a carbon-fibre passenger capsule,
- a battery-powered ground module,
- an air module electrically propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors.
Passengers plan their journey and book their 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 the ground module.
When roads are congested, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is carried by the air module, becoming a self-piloted urban air vehicle that avoids roads altogether.
Once passengers reach their final destination, all of Pop.Up’s components autonomously return to a dedicated charging station where they await their next customers
Airbus says it is already working on demonstrators, which will be flying in the next couple of years, to explore and mature the required technologies. Vahana is one concept, and CityAirbus is another.
Vahana led by Airbus’ Silicon Valley innovation outpost, A3, is a single-passenger self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle, while Airbus’ CityAirbus demonstrator is a multi-passenger electric VTOL vehicle.
Should the concept ever come to fruition, it will extend the passenger capacity of the Airbus product line from over 800 (single-class A380) down to … one.