This content is not available in your region

Flying cars… “It's like taking an elevator”

Flying car on display at GITEX
Flying car on display at GITEX   -   Copyright  Euronews
By Evan Bourke  & Sarah Hedley Hymers

Buzzing with anticipation, the world’s media gathered in a field at Skydive Dubai in the UAE to witness the Xpeng X2’s first public test flight.

The Back to the Future-style car was on display in Dubai during the latest edition of GITEX (Gulf Information Technology Exhibition) and its test flight was a highlight of the event.

Billed as the world’s first two-seater electric flying car, the Xpeng X2 is independently developed and manufactured by Xpeng Aeroht, headquartered in Guangzhou, China.

Using eight propellers, the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle lifts directly off the ground without the need for a runway, making it suitable for flying in built-up urban areas. The Expeng X2 is also equipped with Artificial Intelligence (AI) automation, so it can drive itself.

“It's fully AI-powered, meaning you don't need a pilot to bring you from A to B,” says Andreas Perotti, Chief Marketing Officer of EHang Europe, the autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company collaborating on the Xpeng X2. “Basically, our AI takes over the flight control, all the flight mechanisms. It reacts against unforeseeable incidents, which could happen up in the air. It measures all the conditions and adapts piloting to it.”

Perotti maintains that the invention of flying cars isn’t as pioneering as it may seem. “At the end of the day, what we are doing here is not innovative, at least not from the perspective of how we transport people – and also cargo – from A to B,” he says. “We have been doing this for years, and it’s called the helicopter. The innovation here is making the functional principle of a helicopter affordable for the mass market by using technology.”

Arguably, the Xpeng X2’s greatest innovation and key selling point is its sustainability. Made of lightweight carbon fibre, the Xpeng X2 is designed to carry two passengers with a total payload of 220kg over a distance of approximately 35km with a top speed of 130km per hour. Fully electric, the vehicle will produce zero carbon dioxide emissions.

While many of us may have a fear of flying in cars, Perotti insists journeys will be smooth. “You can see how stable it is up in the air,” he says. “It's not like flying in a helicopter, a helicopter is shaky, it's more like taking an elevator.”

For more, please visit the Destination Dubai hub on Euronews.com

Journalist • Sarah Hedley Hymers