Audi will test air taxis in its German home city

BERLIN — Audi and partner Airbus have signed a letter of intent with the German government to test air taxis in and around the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt.

The trial in Audi’s hometown is meant to counter clogged city roads and unlock new growth potential for Germany’s high-tech industry, the government’s press office said Wednesday in an emailed statement.

“Flying taxis aren’t a vision any longer, they can take us off into a new dimension of mobility,” said German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer. “They’re a huge opportunity for companies and young startups that already develop this technology very concretely and successfully.”

Flying car technology is closer than people think. At the Geneva auto show in March, Audi, Airbus and Italdesign presented Pop.Up Next, a mobility concept based on an ultra-light, two-seater passenger cabin that can be attached either to a car or a drone.

Volocopter, a German startup backed by Intel and Daimler that has built a drone-like electric helicopter to ferry travelers across city skies, has completed test flights and seeks to offer first commercial trips in the next three to five years.

In November, Volvo owner Geely acquired Terrafugia, a U.S. flying-car developer.

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