Near the end of the classic 1985 sci-fi movie Back to the Future, classic mad inventor Doc Brown states that “where we’re going, we don’t need roads” as his time-traveling DeLorean takes off. Flying machines have not yet filled the sky, they are in development. Last week, China’s XPeng X2 successfully conducted the first public flight test of the brand’s two-seat flying car at the GITEX tech fair in Dubai – and even features the famous DeLorean seagull door design.
The XPeng X2 takes off vertically from the ground with eight propellers, without a runway, making it suitable for dense urban areas. A vehicle designed to carry two passengers fully electric and the manufacturers say it can take off into the air at about two meters per second, reaching speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour.
Even though the test flight lasted only 90 seconds, according to Liu Xinying, chief aviation expert at XPeng Aeroht, the technology is close to being ready for public use, but the regulation of flying cars is not yet complete.
XPeng intends to work with governments to define the physical regulatory infrastructure for flying cars in urban areas, and Liu believes people will be able to use flying cars in limited regulated spaces in just five years. It also aligns with the Chinese government’s ambitious plans to launch flying taxis by 2025.
And if there was no flying yet futurist It is enough that the XPeng X2 is equipped with AI automation – it can be piloted manually or used in autonomous driving. “He learns to avoid traffic, buildings and people,” says Liu.
Elements of autonomous driving present more regulatory challenges and also jeopardize public acceptance. Many people remain concerned about the safety issues associated with autonomous cars on the road, not to mention the vehicles that fly over our heads. However, XPeng says autonomous flying cars are safer than human piloted ones.
Dozens of flying cars are currently being developed around the world, and many of them actually fly, such as Canadian Opener’s “BlackFly”, SkyDrive Inc’s “SD-03” and Klein Vision’s “AirCar” prototype. successfully completed a 35-minute test flight between two cities in Slovakia.
The benefits of flying cars like the XPeng X2 aren’t limited to making pop culture’s wildest dreams come true. Proponents say flying cars could revolutionize urban transportation by making roads less congested, safer for pedestrians and cyclists, and in the case of electric vehicles like the XPeng X2, cutting carbon emissions as well.