Although the development of the flying platforms of the future is a financial and time-consuming business, the companies involved in their development are constantly announcing exciting news. The latter refers to the Chinese company XPeng, which first launched its devices on the air. And so is the startup Volocopter, which announced another big investment. This is to help you achieve your goal of offering a flying taxi service at the Paris Olympics.
A few days ago in China, a group of engineers warmly welcomed a swinging car suspended several meters above the ground. They were employees of the Chinese car company XPeng, looking at the results of the HT Aero program, through which the company is developing a flying car.
The company sent in big investments last year, and the effort appears to be paying off. However, it is still very immature at first glance.
The two-ton prototype is essentially a conventionally shaped, four-wheeled passenger car capable of driving on the road. It does, however, have a giant box on the roof, into which arms with a total of eight rotors fold.
However, the test ended with a four-wheel crash landing. The company even had to test a scenario where one of the motors stopped working. The car is said to have withstood such a situation.
The vision of the Chinese is to present a machine with which you can run on roads and highways without any problem. However, the moment you encounter, say, a pillar or other obstacle, it should be enough to simply straighten your arms with the rotors, while taking off vertically into the air and continuing on your way.
However, this future is still a long way off. With the high weight of the vehicle, staying airborne obviously couldn’t be more than a few minutes. However, Xpeng intends to put the car on the market in 2024. The Chinese authorities have already announced that they are ready to provide maximum assistance in the certification process.
The year 2024 should not only be an important year for the Chinese, but also for the German company Volocopter. This startup is also working on a machine capable of taking off and landing vertically. On the other hand, from XPeng, it should become part of the public transport service, which can already be offered at the Paris Olympic Games.
However, to implement this plan, it is necessary to intervene adequately in a development that is very demanding from a financial point of view. This is also the reason why Volocopter has now added another $182 million to Mars’ investment of four billion crowns, more than 4.5 billion crowns.
The funds should be used primarily to develop the urban air mobility ecosystem, such as the necessary infrastructure, integration with other forms of mobility, as well as marketing that properly presents this mode of transport to the general public.
Volocopter wants to launch flights of its two-seat machine on some runways at first and gradually add others. For example, there is talk of flights over Singapore and Paris, but also of the controversial NEOM project, which is being developed in Saudi Arabia.
Neom, along with Chinese automaker Geely, are among the biggest investors in Volocopter’s current investment round. In addition, the two companies are cooperating with Volocopter on their own projects, which will ensure the deployment of 150 German aircraft in China and fifteen in the Saudi city of the future.