The last few months European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has been in the news a lot, not because of planes, but because of its recent moves in the drone industry.
In early March, Airbus announced that it’s working on a car-drone hybrid called Pop.Up with its partner Italdesign. The drone can operate on land or in the air thanks to a modular three part design. A passenger capsule can lock into a car chassis or lock into a large quadcopter to fly through the air. The Pop.Up is designed to be controlled by AI and the idea is of it to be summoned for use via a mobile app. The obvious limiting factor is that the Pop.Up cannot just take off or land anywhere it wants because its car chassis is left behind when it flies.
Airbus is also heavily invested in Singapore’s Skyways project which seeks to safely integrate drones into Singaporean airspace. Additionally, the aircraft-maker signed an agreement with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to test a drone delivery service at the National University of Singapore sometime in the middle of this year.
In the US, Airbus Ventures was part of the new round of funding for drone software startup company AirMap. The Santa Monica-based company has an app that makes it easy for drone pilots to check for flight restrictions and even map their flight info to share with others. As part of their funding agreement, Airbus will be involved in AirMap’s business strategy and will help it build relationships with airports and regulators the world over.
The team here at Drone Dossier wants to believe that this is part of a well thought out plan by Airbus, but in some ways it seems they are throwing out as many ideas that they can and hoping that one sticks.