Airbus and Audi to test VTOLs in Ingolstadt

Airbus and Audi have signed a letter of intent with the German government to test fly their Pop.up Next VTOL in Ingolstadt.

As with many of the cities opening their skies to VTOL project testing, Ingolstadt hopes that the trial flights will help counter congestion on the city’s roads. The trial will provide a basis to test the viability of larger-scale air-taxi operations in the Ingolstadt region.

Airbus’s CTO Grazia Vittadini and Audi’s interim CEO Bram Schot signed the letter of intent along with government representatives including the Mayor of Ingolstadt, Dr Christian Losel.

German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer said in a statement: "Flying taxis aren't a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility. They're a huge opportunity for companies and young start-ups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully."

This trial is a part of the EU’s Urban Air Mobility initiative. The initiative is looking to bring together cities and businesses to help test and develop practical models for urban air mobility across Europe. The project is led by Airbus and supported by the European Commission.

Following the announcement, the Mayor of Ingolstadt said: "Ingolstadt is always ready to try out promising technology for improving the quality of its citizens! A pilot scheme for air taxis for passengers, ill people or organ transportation is the perfect fit for us and increases our profile as a national centre for pioneering digital and autonomous mobility.

We are thus once again underlining our claim that we are a leading site for industry, research and development. I wish to emphasize that these air taxis are aimed to enhance public transport network and not to replace it per se; the citizens will be actively engaged in the feasibility studies and all interests of the citizens, regarding safety and prevention of noise must be observed."

Ingolstadt was the second city to partner with the initiative, making the decision to participate back in February. It is also the home city for Audi.

Bram Schot, Audi’s interim CEO said: “We would like to use our know-how to improve urban life and aim to develop new mobility concepts for cities and people’s various needs with the Urban Air Mobility project. In the distant future, concepts such as Pop.Up Next will transport people quickly and comfortably on the roads and in the air in large cities, thus solving traffic problems.”