Italdesign and Airbus are partnering on the Pop Up concept at the Geneva Motor Show as a way to create a single vehicle that could transition between the road, rail, and air depending on the best way of getting to a person’s destination. The companies imagine the high-tech pods would relieve traffic congestion and reduce emissions in cities of the future.
The transportation companies imagine a door-to-door transportation service. A user would select a destination from an app. The software would calculate the best way to get someone there whether it’s across town or on the other side of the country.
For short-distance journeys, the pod would sit on an autonomous electric chassis with a range up to 81 miles (130 kilometers). For longer journeys or to avoid traffic congestion, a flying drone would pick up the capsule and carry it to the destination. Airbus and Italdesign’s video also shows the vehicles loading onto trains for the journey, and the companies even suggest hauling them by hyperloop.
There’d no indication that these firms are actually planning to implement a vehicle like the Pop Up, but it’s a fascinating idea. In a perfect world, this system could make traveling much easier and would means much more convenient flights.
However, the real-world hurdles to the Pop Up seem insurmountable given current technology. Truly driverless vehicles still aren’t possible with consumer-grade systems, and they don’t look to be ready for several more years. Plus, if people have apprehension about handing control of their car to a computer, imagine the anxiousness from letting artificial intelligence manage a flight.
There are also logistical concerns to consider. For example, the trip-planning system would need to monitor every trip because if someone flies into a different city, and there’s no ground-based transport, then the person is suddenly stuck. There’re also the infrastructure problems of incorporating these pods with traditional planes and highway traffic.
Source: Italdesign and Airbus
Gallery: Italdesign and Airbus Pop Up Concept
ITALDESIGN AND AIRBUS UNVEIL POP.UP A TRAILBLAZING MODULAR GROUND AND AIR PASSENGER CONCEPT VEHICLE SYSTEM
● World-premiered in Geneva on March 7th 2017
● Aerospace and automotive industries unite to draw up a shared vision for seamless, multimodal,
fully electric urban mobility
● Urban transportation is moving into the third dimension, exploring city skies to contribute
to relieving congested roads and reducing emissions
● The modular concept includes a capsule that connects to either a ground or air module,
and can be integrated into other means of transportation
● An Artificial Intelligence platform will manage the trips offering passengers multiple
optimized choices of transport combinations to match their travel preferences
● Passengers will interact with the multimodal transportation system through a simple app
● Passengers can relax and enjoy their journey thanks to a self piloted system for both
ground and air transportation
Geneva, 7 March 2017 – During the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, Italdesign and Airbus worldpremiered
Pop.Up, the first modular, fully electric, zero emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve
traffic congestion in crowded megacities. Pop.Up envisages a modular system for multi-modal transportation
that makes full use of both ground and airspace.
The feasible concept is the result of Italdesign and Airbus’ joint reflection on how to address the mobility
challenges of megacities achievable for a majority, which has become one of the most pressing issues for
commuters in megacities worldwide. With traffic congestion projected to hugely increase by 2030, the
companies decided to combine their engineering expertise to tackle how to best achieve a sustainable, modular
and multimodal urban mobility system - giving rise to the Pop.Up concept.
Pop.Up System consists of a three layers concept:
- an Artificial Intelligence platform that, based on its user knowledge, manages the travel complexity offering
alternative usage scenarios and assuring a seamless travel experience;
- a vehicle shaped as a passenger capsule designed to be coupled with two different and independent electric
propelled modules (the ground module and the air module). Other public means of transportation (e.g. trains
or hyperloops) could also integrate the Pop.Up capsule;
- an interface module that dialogues with users in a fully virtual environment.;
The Pop.Up system aims to give time back to commuters through a flexible, shared and adaptable new way of
moving within cities introducing a new user-focused transportation system concept.
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.
Pop.Up’s modus operandi is simple: passengers plan their journey and book their trip via an easy-to-use app. The
system automatically suggests the best transport solution - according to user knowledge, timing, traffic
congestion, costs, ridesharing demands - joining either the air or ground module or other means of
transportation to the passenger capsule, and following passengers’ preferences and needs.
At the heart of the concept is a capsule: designed to accommodate passengers. This high-tech, monocoque
carbon-fibre cocoon measures 2.6 metres long, 1.4 metres high, and 1.5 metres wide. The capsule transforms
itself into a city car by simply coupling to the ground module, which features a carbon-fibre chassis and is battery
For megacity journeys with high congested traffic, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is
carried by a 5 by 4.4 metre air module propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors. In this configuration, Pop.Up
becomes a urban self-piloted air vehicle, taking advantage of the third dimension to get from A to B efficiently
whilst avoiding traffic congestion on the ground.
Once passengers reach their destination, the air and ground modules with the capsule autonomously return to
dedicated recharge stations to wait for their next customers.
Thanks to the possibility of combining the capsule also with other means of public transportation, the Pop.Up
offers a seamless travel experience. The user can stay for the entire journey in the same capsule without
worrying about switching between different travel modes and enjoy the entire commute time, with real time
interaction between the capsule and the surrounding urban environment and communities.
Aerospace leader Airbus is harnessing its expertise to actively develop a number of radical concepts that will
contribute to relieving urban congestion. “Adding the third dimension to seamless multi-modal transportation
networks will without a doubt improve the way we live and how we get from A to B,” said Mathias Thomsen,
General Manager for Urban Air Mobility at Airbus, on the occasion of the unveil. “Successfully designing and
implementing solutions that will work both in the air and on the ground requires a joint reflection on the part of
both aerospace and automotive sectors, alongside collaboration with local government bodies for infrastructure
and regulatory frameworks. Italdesign, with its long track record of exceptional vehicle design was an exciting
partner for Airbus for this unique concept project.”
“Italdesign is a service company, created to provide services and mobility solutions to interested parties
worldwide. It is deeply rooted in our DNA to search for future state-of-the-art solutions,” said Italdesign CEO
Jörg Astalosch. “Today, automobiles are part of a much wider eco-system: if you want to design the urban
vehicle of the future, the traditional car cannot alone be the solution for megacities, you also have to think about
sustainable and intelligent infrastructure, apps, integration, power systems, urban planning, social aspects, and so
on. In the next years ground transportation will move to the next level and from being shared, connected and
autonomous it will also go multimodal and moving into the third dimension” continued Astalosch. “We found in
Airbus, the leader in aerospace, the perfect partner who shares this modern vision for the future of megacities
to develop a sustainable multi-modal vision of megacity transportation,” he concluded.
Italdesign is a service company providing design, engineering and production for the transportation industry,
through to final testing and type-approval and support into Start of Production and the design of complete
business models. Italdesign is based in Moncalieri and today has premises of more than 50.000 sq.m., a full-scale
design and engineering campus and a cutting edge development and prototyping centre. It has 1000 employees in
Italy, Spain and abroad. Italdesign offers its services to all interested parties worldwide. In 2017 Italdesign
launched as additional business unit to design, develop and produce ultra-limited vehicles for all automotive
constructors worldwide. In 2016 and 2017, Italdesign was awarded Top Employer certification in Italy.
More information on: www.italdesign.it
Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of € 67 billion
and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger
airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport
and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space
business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.
POP.UP TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION
Length mm. 4403
Height mm. 847
Width mm. 5000
Rotors n. 4+4
Propeller diameter mm. 1780
Power train Electric
Total power 136 kW
Motor power (each motor) (MCP) 17 kW
Range (without payload) 100 km
Charging time 15 minutes
Empty weight ratio (EW/GW) 43.90 %
Total battery(ies) energy / capacity 70.0 kWh
Disc Loading 30.4 kg/m2
Tip Speed 150 m/s
Number of passengers 2
Vehicle maximum gross weight 600 kg
PERFORMANCE Top Speed (stand-alone module) 100 km/h
Length Mm 3115
Height Mm 681
Width (front/rear) Mm 1848/ 1900
Front overhang Mm 581
Rear overhang Mm 534
Kerb weight Kg 200
PERFORMANCE Top speed km/h 100
Motorwheels 2 (Rear)
Total Power 60 kW
Range 130 km
Charging time 15 Minutes
Total battery(ies) energy / capacity 15 kWh
Length mm 2647
Height mm 1415
Width mm 1540
Number of Passenger 2
Kerb weight kg 200