Like the jetpack, the flying car seems always just frustratingly out of reach. But Airbus might have finally solved the riddle of the flying car with Pop.Up and the answer is, basically, the kind of flying car James Bond would drive.
The fundamental issue with the flying car is engineering. You can’t really mix a plane and a car together in an unholy union of machinery without basically getting a machine that stinks at both driving and flying. So Airbus solved it by not combining the two. Instead, the Pop.Up features a passenger cabin that’s interchangeable between a car and a quadcopter; you get in the car, and when you get to your airport, the quadcopter scoops you up and flies away, presumably while a sick guitar solo sees you off.
Yes, it sounds awesome, but importantly, it’s also practical. Furthermore, Airbus sees these as autonomous and designed to be flexible right off the bat. In theory, there’s no reason these passenger cabins couldn’t also be loaded onto a high-speed train, or that your quadcopter couldn’t be used to ease traffic congestion. Sadly, this is still on the drawing board, as Airbus needs to work out some kinks, but the idea is brilliant, and means the flying car might be closer than we think.