Xiaopeng He, the CEO of XPeng Motors, is one of the most aggressive players in China’s urban air mobility (UAM) market. He expressed his views on the future of flying vehicles in a Weibo post on Feb. 5.
“What we expected to see as a flying car is not a flying machine, it should be a smart electric car in the city and a low-altitude flying vehicle in the suburbs,” he suggested.
“In the past 8 years, Xpeng’s HT Aero team has been focusing on the development of flying machines, recently having disclosed with JD on flying device. But in the future, they will be concentrating on the coupling of flying machines and cars. Flying cars will become a branch of cars in the future. In the beginning, it will be able to fly in the air for a height of about 7-10m. ”
Why it matters
Xiaopeng He believes there is no future in just making cars, and he hopes to further accelerate the layout of XPeng’s ‘run, fly, walk’ intelligent transportation ecology, which is similar to Tesla’s super imagination: Tesla is not just a hardware company, nor is it just the “Apple of the automobile world”, but a super combination of SolarCity (solar panels) + SpaceX (satellite communications) + Tesla (smart cars).
XPeng’s first flying car brand
Xpeng has been publishing its first flying car brand on 24 Sept 2021., which is the fifth generation of Traveler X2.
Unlike most current UAM vehicle concepts, HT Aero’s would be capable of functioning both in the skies and on the roads.
The vehicle will include:
- an environmental perception system that can evaluate the surroundings and weather conditions to make sure it can take off and land safely at the desired destination.
- a perception and flight control algorithm will help the pilot to avoid obstacles during flight.
- a steering wheel for driving
- a single lever for flight
- a foldable dual rotor mechanism that converts it from a car to a flying machine.
Essential environment for flying cars
The air space required by this kind of flying car is basically the same as miniature unmanned aerial vehicles. Therefore, they face similar flying restrictions, which determine the product’s function and limitations. Therefore, they would need:
- A lot of support from the policy side
- Suitable infrastructure
- Particular urban planning