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Autonomous Car Airlifted By Drone To Fly Over Traffic

Airbus just came up with an alternative for sitting in a car stuck in traffic — flying over it. The company, which worked with Italdesign, unveiled the new modular transport system concept, Pop.Up, at the Geneva International Motor Show Tuesday.

The concept includes a car that connects to a drone, which then lifts it in the air to avoid traffic.

Read: Airbus Will Test Flying Autonomous Car Prototype By End Of 2017, CEO Says

Pop.Up is the “first modular, fully electric, zero emission concept vehicle system” created to relieve traffic congestion, Airbus said.

The aerospace group’s vision of the Pop.Up system is pictured here:

airbus pop.up concept

Airbus and Italdesign reveal concept Pop.Up, a car which attaches to a drone to fly over traffice. Photo: Airbus/Italdesign

The Pop.Up capsule, which is 2.6 meters long, 1.4 meters high and 1.5 meters wide, turns into a car and is designed to seat two individuals. The capsule can attach to a battery-powered chassis.

When there’s too much traffic, the capsule detaches from the ground module and is lifted by a 5 by 4.4 meter drone propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors.

Once you reach your destination the air and ground modules with the capsule autonomously return to their recharge stations to wait for the next riders.

“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, thus bridging the automotive and aerospace domains,” Airbus explained.

Pop.Up doesn’t only offer flying options, as other types of transportation, such as trains or hyperloops could be integrated with the capsule, Airbus said.

Read: Flying Cars Of The Future: Airbus Designs Electric Robot Taxi

Smartphone App For The Pop.Up System

Airbus said the concept gives passengers the ability to choose how they want to travel — all through a “simple app.” Via the app, the system suggests the best mode of transportation by looking at timing, traffic congestion, costs and ridesharing demands.

“Passengers can relax and enjoy their journey thanks to a self-piloted system for both ground and air transportation,” Airbus said.  

Pop.Up airbus concept

Pop.Up airbus concept

Airbus and Italdesign reveal concept Pop.Up, a car which attaches to a drone that flies over traffic. Photo: Airbus/Italdesign

The Pop.Up concept was unveiled after Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in January the company expected to test a prototype for an autonomous flying car by then end of this year.

Airbus announced its autonomous flying car plans in September 2016 by introducing Project Vahana.

The company launched its Urban Air Mobility division last year to look into concepts such as a vehicles to transport people or a helicopter-type vehicle that can for multiple riders. The goal of the division is to allow customers to book rides through an app, like Uber or Lyft, but for the skies.

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