Audi Grounds Their Flying Car Project

Audi introduced the Pop.Up Next concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, but it appears their flying car ambitions have been grounded.

According to Auto News Europe, the automaker has suspended work on the project and is reviewing their partnership with Airbus.

While the Audi had high-hopes for the Pop.Up Next, the difficulties of making a flying car apparently got in the way. In a statement, the company said “We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles.” The automaker added the Pop.Up Next tried to solve this problem with a highly complex solution.

Also Read: Audi Made A Flying Car With The Help Of Airbus And Italdesign

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As we reported last year, the Pop.Up Next consisted of an ultra-lightweight two-seater cabin that could be attached to either a car or flight module. The car module was a skateboard-like platform that featured a 15 kWh battery and two electric motors that produced a combined output of 80 hp (60 kW / 82 PS). This enabled the concept to travel up to 80 miles (130 km) on a single charge.

Of course, it’s most distinctive feature was the flight module. It consisted of four pods housing eight helicopter blades. Each blade was powered by a 26 hp (20 kW / 27 PS) electric motor which was feed by a 70 kWh battery pack. This gave the module a combined output of 214 hp (160 kW / 217 PS) and allowed it to fly at speeds up to 74 mph (120 km/h). On the downside, the flight module could only travel 31 miles (50 km) before needing to stop for a 15 minute recharge.

While it appears the project is effectively dead, the Volkswagen Group hasn’t given up on flying cars altogether. Just last week, Porsche and Boeing signed a memorandum of understanding to develop “premium personal urban air mobility vehicles.” As part of the agreement, the companies are working on an electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle which looks like something out of a Batman movie.

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  • Paul

    So I’m guessing Elon Musk isn’t available for help right now 😉

  • Six_Tymes

    I bet its because of Liability and Risk factor is astronomical at this point. Although, they could turn to Uber, Uber doesn’t care if they run people over, so why should they care if they crash flying objects into people.

    Audi = smart move.

  • Hoe

    As usual they had to leave the real job to Porsche

    • OS

      lol when has that ever been the case besides using their twin turbo v8 for the new rs7/6/s8? Audi has more revenue, a higher R&D budget, and co-developed the J1 and PPE platforms with Porsche.

      None of this flying car crap will ever see the light of day…too much liability and FAA would never allow it for risk of national security.

      • MarkoS

        Hence, the new Porsche/Boeing project. Blame it on Brexit.

      • Hoe

        Again this thing of that engine… only!
        that’s why Porsche was about to buy VAG…

  • MarkoS

    Hence, the new Porsche/Boeing project.

  • Thunderbolt

    Audi should concentrate on making their vehicles more reliable and roadworthy before focusing on airworthy.

  • Socarboy

    “Starfleet” called them, they demanded their upper section back!

  • JqC

    Ahhh… the nay-sayers. It’s really simple why this does not work, and I was never interested. Any attempt to mix the requirements of a road-going transportation solution with an airborne one is doomed to failure. That passenger cabin needs to be able to withstand crashes, etc. All that added weight is not required for air transport because collisions are not the issue there. This makes the solution unwieldy. There will never be flying cars, and there never needed to be a flying car. E-VTOLs are a separate and new type of transportation with their own imperatives and requirements, and should be treated accordingly. The Porsche concept is a bit more like this.

    As to FAA and regulations as reasons for skepticism, nonsense. As long as regulators see the benefits and the risk of the systems being manageable, anything can be done. You really think people flying in autonomous airborne vehicles are going to be at greater risk that those in cars zooming past each other at 100mph?

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