Italdesign, Airbus prepping drone-carried flying car concept for Geneva

Italdesign, Airbus prepping drone-carried flying car concept for Geneva

The famous styling house Italdesign and jetliner maker Airbus are reportedly taking a new stab at imagining the old idea of the flying car, according to Automotive News Europe. Rather than making the vehicle itself capable of going airborne, drones would allegedly be able to pick up the body for carrying occupants away from traffic. The concept will debut next week at the Geneva Motor Show.

According to insiders speaking to Automotive News Europe, the concept is an autonomous vehicle with a separate passenger compartment and chassis. The companies’ imagine that if traffic gets too congested, then a drone would fly over and pick up the occupants.

There seem to be some flaws in the logic of this design, though. First, the chassis would need to be universal enough to find one in a place somewhere with less traffic. Plus, the car seems superfluous for this tech if you can just fly places with the drone. In addition, once everyone is in the air, the skies would become too crowded, and at some point it would be more efficient to drive on the road again.

Italdesign has toyed with the idea of a modular car before. Way back in 1982, the company revealed the Capsula concept (pictured in gallery), as a model with a separate chassis and cabin. The firm imagined creating different passenger compartments that would transform the vehicle underneath into automobiles like a high-roofed, little bus or commercial model.

The styling house is also revealing its new Italdesign Automobili Speciali brand at Geneva. The firm’s supercar debuting in Switzerland costs $1.5 million euros ($1.6 million), and the company is making just five units of them. The model uses the 5.2-liter V10 from the Audi R8 and the Lamborghini Huracán, but the firm isn’t discussing the mill’s specific output for this application yet. Still, the potent powerplant can get the coupe to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 205 mph (330 kph).

Meanwhile, Airbus is trying to bring autonomous technology to aircraft. Its Project Vahana would function as a flying taxi without a pilot onboard. Vertical takeoff and landing would make runways unnecessary.

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