Audi, together with Airbus and Italdesign, has presented a 1:4 scale working prototype of the ‘Pop.Up Next’ flying taxi concept at Drone Week in Amsterdam. The German carmaker is part of the Urban Air Mobility flying taxi project in Ingolstadt, and is looking to further develop the idea into a comprehensive transport service.

The concept combines an autonomous electric car and a passenger drone, with a separate passenger compartment being passed between them. During the concept’s test run, flight module accurately placed a passenger capsule on the ground module, which then drove from the test grounds autonomously.

“Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that. More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation. In future senior citizens, children, and people without a driver’s license will want to use convenient robot taxis,” said Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of the Audi subsidiary Italdesign.

Such an idea is being tested for an on-demand service in South America, where customers book helicopter flights in Mexico City or Sao Paulo, while an Audi is at the ready for the journey to or from the landing site.