Motion & Emotion

Why Pop.Up Is the Best Urban Self-Piloted Air Vehicle?


During the 87th Geneva International Motor Show, Italdesign and Airbus world-premiered Pop.Up, the first modular, fully electric, zero-emission concept vehicle system designed to relieve traffic congestion in crowded megacities. Pop.Up envisages a modular system for multimodal transportation that makes full use of both ground and airspace.

The feasible concept is the result of Italdesign and Airbus’ joint reflection on how to address the mobility challenges of megacities achievable for a majority, which has become one of the most pressing issues for commuters in megacities worldwide.

With traffic congestion projected to increase by 2030 hugely, the companies decided to combine their engineering expertise to tackle how to best achieve a sustainable, modular and multimodal urban mobility system – giving rise to the Pop.Up concept.


Pop.Up System consists of a three layers concept:

      • An Artificial Intelligence platform that, based on its user knowledge, manages the travel complexity offering alternative usage scenarios and assuring a seamless travel experience;
      • A vehicle shaped as a passenger capsule designed to be coupled with two different and independent electric propelled modules, the ground module and the air module. Other public means of transportation (e.g. trains or hyperloops) could also integrate the Pop. Up capsule;
      • An interface module that dialogues with users in an entirely virtual environment.
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The Pop.Up vehicle combines the flexibility of a small two-seater ground vehicle with the freedom and speed of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air vehicle, thus bridging the automotive and aerospace domains.

Pop.Up, an Urban Self-Piloted Air Vehicle


At the heart of the concept is a capsule: designed to accommodate passengers. This high-tech, monocoque carbon-fibre cocoon measures 2.6 metres long, 1.4 metres high, and 1.5 metres wide. The tablet transforms itself into a city car by directly coupling to the ground module, which features a carbon-fibre chassis and is battery powered.

Pop.Up, an Urban Self-Piloted Air Vehicle-layout

For megacity journeys with high congested traffic, the capsule disconnects from the ground module and is carried by a five by 4.4-metre air module propelled by eight counter-rotating rotors. In this configuration, Pop.Up becomes an urban self-piloted air vehicle, taking advantage of the third dimension to get from A to B efficiently while avoiding traffic congestion on the ground.

Once passengers reach their destination, the air and ground modules with the capsule autonomously return to dedicated recharge stations to wait for their next customers.


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