Audi backpedals on flying taxi plans
Sister brand Porsche apparently has higher hopes for luxury aerial mobility.
Audi has apparently decided to walk away from its plans for a flying taxi, acknowledging that the technology is far away from commercial viability.
The automaker teamed with Airbus to build a flying small-scale prototype of a modular system with a multi-rotor platform that attaches to a car, theoretically allowing someone to take to the skies and streets without stepping out of the vehicle.
The companies had been working toward a full-scale flying prototype this year, however the project is now on hold, according to Automotive News Europe.
"We believe it will be a very long time before an air taxi can be serially produced that does not require passengers to change vehicles," the company said in a statement. "In the modular concept of Pop.Up, we were working on a solution with the highest complexity."
Sister brand Porsche is apparently not concerned that passengers will have to switch vehicles, teaming with Airbus rival Boeing to develop an electric VTOL aircraft for luxury "urban air mobility."
Electric aerial taxis all face significant hurdles in their quest to disrupt urban transportation. For now, the technology shows promise to compete with helicopters but only with a human pilot on board. Fully autonomous operation represents the holy grail, however it could be many years before the necessary software is ready and even longer before the FAA might roll out new regulations that would accommodate such operations.