It's like a cross between a flying claw crane and an autonomous car.
The idea of flying taxis has been floating around for a while. But solving the so-called "last-mile" problem is difficult — finding suitable spots to land, and connecting them to other modes of transport, will require careful planning.
Now Audi, Airbus and design company Italdesign have partnered up to devise a prototype that could ease that transition. Their brand new concept called "Pop.Up Next" is a futuristic cross between an autonomous car and a flying taxi.
The companies' team showed off an 1:4 scale model at the Amsterdam Drone Week convention, but the idea has been around since at least March.
On the ground, the Pop.Up Next looks kind of like an ultra-modern sedan with sporty lines — kind of like a fully-electric and autonomous Audi, aesthetically.
A Flying Claw Crane
But it's the detachable passenger cabin that really sets it apart. The cabin can essentially be picked up by a drone module that can park its two legs on either side of the vehicle, and passenger pod.
It then can pick up just the passenger pod, and leave the car — or sled?— behind. Think of it as a bird that swoops down to grab its prey.
Of course, the transition from a quarter-scale model to full-scale is anything but simple — not to mention the complete lack of infrastructure that could support flying taxis in a city.
But Audi is hoping to conduct test operations for a flying taxi at Audi's headquarters in Germany. Futurism has reached out to Audi for a more detailed timeline.
READ MORE: Hailing the future taxi: Drone-car mashup model takes flight [Phys.org]
More on flying taxis: Uber Plans To Launch Flying Taxis With Technology That Doesn’t Exist