Audi and Airbus’s flying taxi concept looks set to take to the skies around the German city of Ingolstadt, following the signing of a letter of intent by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The concept, which was shown at the Geneva motor show, features a passenger pod that can be attached either to an electric car base or quadcopter top. The autonomous vehicle can drive itself on the road or fly itself into the air.
Merkel’s backing will allow the project to move onto testing on the road and the sky — something that Merkel said would help provide a solution to Germany’s growing urban traffic problem, as well as offering a boost to the technology industry.
“Flying taxis aren’t a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility,” German transport minister Andreas Scheuer told Bloomberg. “They’re a huge opportunity for companies and young start-ups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully.”
Flying taxis have become increasingly popular with tech companies because of their ability to transport passengers from door to door without the need for a runway.
Uber is developing its own flying taxi with the intention of launching it from 2020. Lilium, a German start-up, is also creating its own, with hopes that it will take to the skies from 2025.
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