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PopUp: Hybrid Drone Taxi – The Future Is In The Air




Back in 1997, a movie called The Fifth Element portrayed a flying taxi. Today, two companies have combined efforts to make that reality of flying drone taxis closer by creating a new concept vehicle that can drive like a regular car and fly like a drone. Airbus and Italdesign teamed up to create Pop.Up. This vehicle made its debut at the 87th Geneva Motor Show. Not only is this the future, but it is supposed to be released sooner than you think, and it may even be bad news for the drone community.

This vehicle was created to combat the growing city traffic. It’s made to be electrically powered with zero emissions. The single-shelled monocoque carbon-fiber design you see in some upcoming drones today will be utilized in this concept vehicle.

The interchangeable pod will be:

  • 2.6 meters long,
  • 1.4 meters high, and
  • 1.5 meters wide.

This hybrid drone taxi will sit up to two passengers.

flying drone taxi

PopUp Technical Specs:

The air module will have a total power of 136 kW, and the charging time for one is estimated to only take 15 minutes. The maximum vehicle weight is rated at 600 kg or about 1,323 lbs. The top speed of air travel is 100 km/h, or about 62 mph. The ground module is similar since both the top speed and charge time is the same as its air module counterpart, but its range is good up to 130 km, or about 81 miles. The ground station will be a rear wheel vehicle with a total power of 60 kW.

ground station drone taxi

Pop.Up’s greatest feature is its ability to transfer passengers through different platforms. The capsule can be flown with the air module that has eight counter-rotating rotors. It can also be driven with their battery powered ground module. The pod itself was built to be adaptable. With Hyperloop being developed, this hybrid vehicle is also being aimed to be viable with the vacuum tube freight transportation that can go up to 760 mph.

italdesign airbus popup geneva

This drone taxi transportation service will have an app that is similar to Uber. It is projected to be refueled by numerous charging stations around the area. You can order one of these through your app, and it will transport you via the best route possible with help from the artificial intelligence platform.


Pop.Up (2017 Concept Vehicle)

Tomorrow’s Transportation?

Is this technology ready to be implemented in today’s society? This technology is already somewhat available, and it can be seen in the world’s first self-driving taxi: Ehang 184. What Pop.Up has successfully improved is the ability to seamlessly travel by land, air, or train. One has to question if this will get government approval, but the potential this has is numerous since its hybrid functionality is unprecedented on an autonomous level.

Ehang 184 (2016 Model)

Ehang 184 (2016 Model)

Pop.Up is projected to be released within 7-10 years from now, but it may take longer. With self-driving cars in the near future, this doesn’t seem to be that far off, yet traveling via air can raise some serious questions. Do people feel safe about vehicles flying relativity low? What are the fail-safe features of these new vehicles? If this gets approved, how will this affect consumer drone users who want to fly their drones in the city?

future drone taxi

If this gets passed in the future, you can expect numerous laws against consumer and professional drone use. It may be the future of travel, but this will limit the usage of drones in the city since human safety will be prioritized.


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