Audi and Airbus come together to show off the future of transportation

Every year, the Geneva Auto Show is full of surprises. Airbus and Italian design house Italdesign joined forces to introduce a mobility concept named Pop.Up that drives and flies at last year’s edition of the event. Audi recently entered the equation to contribute its knowledge in the fields of battery technology and automation. The team presented an updated prototype named Pop.Up Next at the 2018 Geneva show.

Two main parts make up the Pop.Up Next. Called ground module, the first is a futuristic-looking city car with space for two passengers. It’s about the same length as a smart fortwo but it weighs only 440 pounds. Airbus explained it managed to make the Next much lighter than the original Pop.Up by redesigning the seats and using lightweight materials like aluminum and titanium.

Power comes from an electric motor that draws electricity from a 15kWh battery pack to provide up to 80 miles of range. That is not much, but engineers needed to keep the size of the battery pack down to make it as light as possible. The trade-off is that the battery can take a full charge in only 15 minutes. On the road, the Pop.Up has a top speed of about 60 mph. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art autonomous technology so the passengers can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Taken on its own, it’s hardly a ground-breaking vehicle. It becomes one when it leaves the ground thanks to the drone-like air module. Eight motor-driven propellers grouped into four clusters allow the air module to smoothly pick up the ground module and take off vertically like a helicopter. Sensors help the two parts align automatically. There are three coupling points and a central safety module. Self-rotating hooks help ensure the air module doesn’t drop its car in a lake mid-flight before gliding off into the horizon.

The two passengers sit side by side, enjoying the view below through transparent doors and a large windshield. When that gets boring, or for passengers who are scared of heights, there is also a 49-inch screen that provides information about the flight, entertainment options, and connectivity functions. The passengers and the infotainment system interact with eye-tracking and facial- recognition technology.

“Pop.Up Next is an ambitious vision that could permanently change our urban life in the future,” Bernd Martens, Audi’s board member for procurement and the president of Italdesign, said in a statement. The German firm also brings a dose of realism to the project. The Pop.Up Next is nothing short of awesome, and it could revolutionize the way we commute, but Audi realistically points out it’s a vision that can only become true in the distant future. Still, talks are already underway to find out what is involved in making a machine like the Pop.Up Next street-legal in key markets around the world.

Cars

Technology trickles down from above to make the new 2019 Audi Q3 smarter

The redesigned 2019 Audi Q3 makes its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The firm's smallest SUV receives tech features like a virtual cockpit and a single screen variant of MMI Touch Response from bigger models.
Cars

Karma Automotive unveils two head-turning concept cars, quicker 2020 Revero GT

Karma Automotive brought three new cars to the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, including a long overdue redesigned version of its Revero plug-in hybrid, an all-electric concept car, and a concept coupe designed in concert with legendary Italian…
Cars

The Audi AI:me concept shows how a self-driving city car can fight boredom

Audi unveiled a concept named AI:me at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. It explores what an electric, autonomous, connected city car could be. It fights boredom with an on-board VR set while taking Audi's tech-savvy interiors to new heights.
Cars

Volkswagen ID Roomzz concept has rear lights you can customize with an app

Volkswagen unveiled the ID Roomzz concept at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show. It takes the form of an Atlas-sized SUV with a high-tech, lounge-like interior and an electric powertrain. The Roomzz will enter series production in 2021.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

More tech and more space make the Mercedes-Benz GLS the S-Class of the SUV world

Mercedes-Benz introduced the second-generation GLS at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The company's biggest and most luxurious SUV gains more tech features in its quest to become the S-Class of the SUV world.
Cars

Would you buy the Tarok compact pickup truck? Volkswagen wants to know

The Volkswagen Tarok pickup truck concept will make its United States debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The truck first appeared at the 2018 Sao Paulo Auto Show, and VW wants to see what U.S. buyers think of it.
Cars

Sick of civilization? Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp concept lets you get away

Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Basecamp concept ahead of its debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Built for overlanding, this family-hauler was upgraded jointly by Volkswagen and aftermarket manufacturers.
Cars

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo sheds weight, uses racing tricks to stay sharp

The 2020 Nissan GT-R Nismo isn't dramatically different from the 2019 model, but Nissan made changes where it counts. The updated GT-R Nismo is lighter and offers better aerodynamic performance, according to Nissan.
Cars

Nikola previews $80K NZT off-road EV speedster with 590 horsepower

Nikola Motor is taking reservations for the NZT, a high-performance, all-electric off-highway vehicle (OHV). The $80,000 NZT has 590 horsepower, 775 foot-pounds of torque, and reaches 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
Cars

Bored with stock? The best tuner cars are begging to be modified

Modification has been around almost as long as the automobile itself. Here are 25 of the best tuner cars you can find, ranging from American muscle standouts to Japanese drift cars.
Cars

21 charged in Chicago carsharing heist; 100+ cars stolen, many still missing

More than 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles belonging to carsharing service Car2Go were stolen in Chicago. Police are still working to recover all of the cars, which are equipped with GPS, and 21 people have been charged.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.