Airbus imagines podules that mate with rolling or flying engines, directed by AI
The “Pop.Up System” starts with innovative punctuation and then offers us the vision of a two-seater “carbon-fibre passenger capsule” that mates with a “battery-powered ground module” or an “air module electrically propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors”.
The idea is that some time in the future you’ll log on to an app to summon transportation. A passenger capsule will arrive not long afterwards using whatever mode of locomotion will enable the fastest journey to your destination. You might fly or roll, depending on traffic and whatever other inputs an artificial-intelligence-infused back end decides it needs to send you on your way.
The concept assumes the ground and air modules will be battery-powered and therefore more environmentally-friendly than petrol-burning cars, which of course neglects the very real possibility the electricity charging those batteries was generated in a coal-or-oil-fuelled power plant.
But noting that may be churlish, given that Airbus thinks the passenger capsule could be made compatible with other transport ideas, like Hyerloop. Suggesting that makes this ida utterly buzzword-compliant, seeing as it now elements of hot tropes popularised by Uber, drones, Elon Musk, the nobody-will-own-anything-and-instead-subscribe-to-everything movement, and soft takeoff-singularity optimists, with a dash of LEGO-at-scale throw in for good measure.
The video below explains it all, with lots of coporate schmaltz. ®