The modular pod can connect to a chassis when it's time for a drive. A drone can pick it up when flying would be more efficient.

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.

Italdesign and Airbus Pop Up
Italdesign and Airbus Pop Up

For short-distance journeys, the pod would sit on an autonomous electric chassis with a range up to 81 miles (130 kilometres). 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 mean much more convenient flights.

Italdesign and Airbus Pop Up
Italdesign and Airbus Pop Up

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.

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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

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