Concept Cars

This incredible drone-car hybrid could transform city travel

This Airbus concept will let you summon a car to your house, which gets picked up by a huge drone to whisk you to your destination. All electric, and you won't have to lift a finger.

Now Playing: Watch this: ItalDesign and Airbus reckon this is the cab of the future?!
1:26

The days of sitting in city traffic are coming to an end. An awesome new concept from aircraft manufacturer Airbus paints a future where you sit in a pod that automatically switches between air and ground travel.

Here's how it works: Imagine ordering a taxi using an app from your couch. Two minutes later, it's outside your door. You climb in, and off it drives.

But before you hit that busy intersection, the pod parks up, a giant drone attaches to your roof, picks you up in your pod (leaving the wheels behind) and whisks you off across the city in the air. It'll land at a station near your destination where the pod will attach new wheels and you'll drive the rest of your route.

The road-sky-road route will allow you to miss the busiest streets, giving you a faster and more relaxing journey. It's also all done completely autonomously -- the driving and flying will all be taken care of by the car. All you have to do is order your pickup.

Now, this is evidently a concept idea that we won't see in action for many years, if ever, but Airbus seemed confident about the project's future here at the Geneva auto show. A representative I spoke to claimed it's possible we'll see trials of the technology within 10 years.

The physical technology isn't far off -- sticking a massive quadcopter on a pod the size of a Smart car isn't that challenging, but I'm told the battery technology, which powers all aspects of the journey, needs improving.

airbus-italdesign-pop-up-drone-car-concept-geneva-7.jpg
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The biggest hurdle is getting cities on board with investing in this technology, not only in building the stations that will allow the Pop.Up to transform its shape, but also in creating the regulations and infrastructure that will allow for autonomous vehicles to not only drive on the roads, but take off and land.

Good luck with that one, Airbus.