Airbus and the German car manufacturer Audi have teamed up to develop what they describe as “real, near-term urban mobility solutions”, which features electric and autonomous cars and drones – sometimes operating together as flying cars (main picture and video below).
Beginning this summer, Airbus – through its on-demand helicopter platform Voom – will partner with Audi to deliver an end-to-end transportation service, starting in São Paulo and Mexico City.
This partnership will provide premium ground transportation serviced by Audi vehicles and helicopter transport via Airbus’ Voom service, allowing customers to have a seamless and ultra-convenient travel experience.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders says: “This important partnership with Audi addresses both current and future challenges for urban mobility.
“As a first concrete milestone in the cooperation we are developing, we will be offering multi-modal transportation solutions to the world’s most congested cities.
“The world is rapidly urbanizing, and ground infrastructure alone cannot meet the demands of tomorrow.
“Increased congestion is pushing the cities’ transport systems to the limits, costing travellers and municipalities valuable time and money.
“Adding the sky as a third dimension to the urban transport networks is going to revolutionise the way we live – and Airbus is ready to shape and build that future of flight.”
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler says: “The Audi Group is committed to improve mobility in cities by introducing smart, innovative ideas.
“To find the best solutions for our customers, we therefore showed in 2018 the first modular system for Urban Air Mobility together with Airbus and our subsidiary Italdesign.
“Today we are going the next step entering into a service with Airbus and Voom to offer premium mobility for customers.
“By doing this, we will learn even better how we can ensure seamless, multi-modal transportation with the best partners for our customers.
“Together with Airbus, we will develop this cooperation further.”
Airbus has already carried out successful trials in São Paulo of its helicopter ride-hailing service Voom, which aims to ease congestion by making helicopter travel more accessible and affordable. Since March 2018, the service is also available in Mexico City.
Airbus and Italdesign are partnering on Pop Up, a full electric auto-piloted and modular concept including a capsule connected to either ground or air module.
Elsewhere, teams are working to create entirely new vehicles: CityAirbus, ready to fly before the end of 2018, is a technology demonstrator of an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle for up to four passengers.
Vahana aims to create a similar mode of transport for individual travellers or cargo. It completed its first full-scale flight in January 2018.
In Singapore, the company is working with the country’s National University on the Skyways project to test a parcel transportation system using autonomous drones.