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Audi suspends air taxi plans, rethinks partnership with Airbus

by Michael Willoughby

“Audi has suspended work on its Pop.Up air taxi and has put its partnership with Airbus to develop the vehicle up for review,” according to news site Automotive News Europe.

“Audi said it is working on a fresh direction for its urban air mobility activities as part of its new strategy announced in May,” the report says.

“At present we are working on a new direction for our urban air mobility activities and have not yet made a decision regarding potential future products,” Audi said in a statement to ANE adding it had stopped all work on the Pop.Up concept that was developed by its Italdesign subsidiary with Airbus.

According to the report, “the concept has a flying passenger capsule that sits on top of a car chassis. The idea was to pick up a customer up at home, drive them to a heliport where the car connects with the flight module.

“The Pop.Up had a successful trial flight as a scaled-down model during Drone Week in Amsterdam last November.”

Audi executives said told ANE they wanted to continue with the project.  “We want to have fully flightworthy prototype ready by the end of next year, that’s our development goal,” Audi board member Bernd Martens said at the time.

Audi had also planned to test air taxis in Ingolstadt, its German home city, the report claims.

In the statement, however, Audi reversed course, citing the challenges specific to the project.

“We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles. In the modular concept of Pop.Up, we were working on a solution with the highest complexity,” it said.

Airbus declined to comment to ANE on the potential end of the partnership. It told the site the Pop.Up was not envisaged to flank its own CityAirbus and Vahana flying demonstrators.

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