Flying cars, much like the first time man took to the air has been one of our generations most toyed with the idea. Although it’s only now almost a quarter way into the new millennium that we seem remotely close to the concept making it to reality. Leading the way as of now is the vehicular result from the collaboration between Audi and Airbus. A project which is presently being backed by several government agencies across the globe. The partnership has most recently signed a letter of intent to start their Urban Air Mobility project in Ingolstadt, Germany. The agreement signals intent and expectations of the parties involved, which include Germany's Federal Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, Minister of State for Digital Affairs Dorothee Bär, Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini, and mayor of Ingolstadt Dr Christian Lösel.
The vehicle that is likely to be developed through this agreement will be along the lines of the Pop. Up Next concept displayed earlier this year at the Geneva Motor show. The concept is based around a modular electric pod which could alternate between a motorized base with wheels and a quadcopter for longer distances. The motorized base would need full, Level 5 autonomous driving technology as the system would likely be used for a ride-sharing.
“Connected, electric and autonomous cars will make urban traffic more comfortable and cleaner and will save space – that means a better quality of life for people in cities. This is where mobility in the third dimension can make a valuable contribution in the future,” said Bram Schot, interim CEO and Member of the Board of Management for Sales and Marketing at Audi. “We would like to use our know-how to improve urban life, and aim to develop new mobility concepts for cities and people’s various needs with the Urban Air Mobility project.”
Now, there is no denying that this sounds terribly exciting. But one must remember that even a global scale roll-out or any real-world result could be a few years away. Making this technology to be to be safe and reliable will take time, money, and significant R&D.