Chinese EV maker Xpeng is affiliated with HT Aero. They announced on Sunday that they are going to roll out a flying car that can also drive on roads by 2024. The car is not commercially available yet, as the company noted that the final design may change.
HT Aero’s vehicle will be a lightweight vehicle and will have a foldable rotor that can be expanded or contracted to fly or drive on roads. The car will have various safety features including a parachute. HT Aero is founded by He Xiaopeng and is being backed by Xpeng. Last week various investors including high-profile investors invested $500 million in the company during the funding round.
Automakers and startups these days are into cars that can have a vertical land-off and landing. There are various challenges for such vehicles to be practically usable, given the technology is made with utmost safety. The air traffic rules or regulations are not something everyone is aware of, and the complications increase if these vehicles were to be sold commercially.
Regardless of the challenges, the company seems to be ahead with its technology. At Xpeng Tech Day, HT Aero’s new air and the land vehicle was introduced. During the event, the company also introduced Xpilot 4.0 which is its advanced driver assistance system.
Low altitude air travel
During the event, HT Aero’s founder and president Zhao Deli said that the brand’s next-generation model will feature a “fully integrated flying vehicle and automobile, designed for both low-altitude air travel and road driving.”
Other automotive brands like Lilium and Hyundai are also working on building their own flying cars. Xpeng is a prominent EV maker in China which is competing strongly with other automakers locally. As recent as in July, HT Aero launched its flying car, X2 that can carry passengers.
While the race to go to space between companies was getting stronger, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic won. Virgin Galactic was the first company to take civilians to space. Then there were Blue Origin’s and Space’s civilian spaceflights. While every launch was remarkable with drastic changes, the competition has briefly subsided.
Now, it is about flying cars as efforts are continuously being made by various companies. It is known that Stephen Fitzpatrick, the founder, and CEO of Britain’s Vertical Aerospace is getting close to finishing the design and making of a flying car. Vertical Aerospace is a US-listed company that has set a target of $394 million to raise in its funding round. According to Fitzpatrick, this could happen by the mid-2020s. Many experts agree that this is possible, but the question pins down on who will make this possible first.