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Audi puts flying taxi development on hold with Airbus

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Audi Pop.Up

Maybe this was a little too complicated for the world.


Audi may not take to the skies nearly as quickly as once thought. Although the German luxury marque appeared to be headed toward a flying taxi at full speed with Italdesign and partner Airbus, those plans are now on the back burner.

In a Monday report from Automotive News Europe, Audi told the publication it’s “working on a new direction for our urban air mobility activities and have not yet made a decision regarding potential future products.” Roadshow reached out to Audi for more information on the decision but the automaker did not immediately respond.

The decision curiously comes after Porsche, also under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, revealed a Boeing partnership for premium air taxi travel in the future. It’s unclear if this decision to suspend work at Audi is related. Audi previously showed its Pop.Up concept at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The concept vehicle combined an electric city car with a drone that released from the vehicle when the driver needed to switch to sky travel.

Both the flying taxi portion and the car were totally autonomous and Audi pitched the concept, developed with France’s Airbus, as a seamless way to go from quick air travel, to last-mile movement on the ground with the city car. Audi went as far as signing a letter of intent with city of Ingolstadt to begin tests of the Pop.Up and understand its benefits. Last November, a scale-model of the concept made its first successful test flight.

Now, per the Monday report, Audi has halted all work on the program. The statement provided to the publication went on to cite incredibly high complexities surrounding the two-in-one vehicle and a lengthy timeline before this kind of contraption could be mass produced.

Porsche said in its Boeing partnership announcement last week that an internal study indicated this kind of air travel will pick up in popularity after 2025. Whether Audi is part of the conversation between now and then remains to be seen.

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