Audi Updates Airbus and Italdesign Flying Car Concept

Check out those headlights.

Italdesign

Last year, Airbus and Italdesign cornered the market on tech buzzwords by producing a self-driving car concept that could be lifted into the air by a drone-like quadcopter attachment. But the resulting Pop.Up concept didn't have much style, something Audi wants to change.

The German automaker joined Airbus and Italdesign in developing an updated version of the concept, christened Pop.Up Next. Debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, it provides a glimpse of what the future might look like if Audi suddenly started making flying taxis.

The original Pop.Up concept looked like a pod suspended from a giant drone, but the Pop.Up Next looks like an Audi-branded pod suspended from a giant drone. The concept features elements of Audi's design language, including an outline of the automaker's trademark grille, and blade-like headlights. The interior features a 49-inch screen and seating for two.

The Pop.Up Next may look a bit different from the first Pop.Up concept, but the idea is still the same. The passenger-carrying pod can be attached to a set of wheels for driving, or to the quadcopter unit for flying. It's unclear if this would actually work in the real world, but the Pop.Up Next will probably get lots of attention on the Geneva show floor.

It's unclear if Audi, Airbus, and Italdesign will attempt a production version of the Pop.Up Next, but Airbus is already working on flying cars. The aviation giant is backing a startup called Vahana, which conducted a successful test flight with a flying-car prototype in January. The flight only lasted 53 seconds, but Airbus and Vahana want to ramp up to full-scale trials of flying taxis within the next two years.