Audi has unveiled a quarter-sized prototype of its autonomous flying electric car - the Audi Pop.Up. It consists of an electric vehicle platform able to accommodate a passenger pod. The platform can drive on the road and park itself under a drone frame, which then receives the passenger pod – becoming a passenger drone.
(Audi Pop.Up electric self-driving flying car)
Dr. Bernd Martens, Audi board member for sourcing and IT, and president of the Audi subsidiary Italdesign, is convinced that it will become a real product:
“Flying taxis are on the way. We at Audi are convinced of that. More and more people are moving to cities. And more and more people will be mobile thanks to automation. In future senior citizens, children, and people without a driver’s license will want to use convenient robot taxis. If we succeed in making a smart allocation of traffic between roads and airspace, people and cities can benefit in equal measure.”
I think that the tin cabbie from James Blish's 1957 story Cities in Flight predicts Audi's Pop.Up electric flying autonomous car pretty accurately:
The cab came floating down out of the sky at the intersection and maneuvered itself to rest at the curb next to them with a finicky precision. There was, of course, nobody in it; like everything else in the world requiring an IQ of less than 150, it was computer-controlled...
The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics, painted with large red-and-white checkers, with a row of windows running all around it. Inside, there were two seats for four people, a speaker grille, and that was all: no controls and no instruments...
(Read more about the tin cabbie)