Two-seater flying car takes off from Dubai Marina

XPeng's electric VTOL aircraft has live demonstration at Gitex 2022

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A flying car took off from Dubai Marina on Monday evening in a demonstration designed to show the future of travel could be here sooner than you would think.

XPeng Aeroht showed off its two-seater electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) X2 flying car at Skydive Dubai.

The Chinese manufacturer is among a clutch of hi-tech companies in the race to produce the first viable flying vehicle that can be used in an urban environment.

The X2, equipped with an intelligent flight control system and autonomous flight capabilities, is the latest generation of flying cars developed independently by XPeng’s affiliate XPeng Aeroht.

Flying car takes first public flight in Dubai

A handout picture provided by the Dubai Chambers on October 10, 2022, shows the X2, a two-seater electric flying car developed by Chinese e-vehicle manufacturer XPENG AEROHT, during its unveiling at Dubai's GITEX tech show in the Gulf emirate.  (Photo by Dubai Chambers  /  AFP)  /  RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /  DUBAI CHAMBERS" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Dr Liu Xinying, head of aviation affairs at Aeroht, said the prototype is the latest stage of innovation in the aerial passenger drone market.

“We cannot go into costs, but we are putting this experience we have learned into the next generation of flying cars,” he told The National.

“The first phase will see these vehicles tested in certain regulated areas to lower the operational costs and risks. We hope to achieve that within two to three years.

“The second phase of development will be from point A to B and the third phase will see these used in urban mobility in a city with door-to-door delivery, for example.

“Logistics will be used ahead of passenger transport. The challenge is how to manage this ecosystem.

“The company is working on a sixth generation of a flying car that can take off and land vertically, with autonomous flight path planning. It is scheduled to be mass produced and delivered in 2024.”

“This isn’t just about the technology, it’s about how we as humans have pushed the boundaries of what is possible,” said Hassan Al Hashemi, acting president and chief executive of Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

“The fact this test took place in Dubai is testament towards our commitment to innovation and giving back to society.

“The future is now.”

While the X2 did not stray too far from the test site at Skydive Dubai, the crowd who gathered to witness its maiden voyage was clearly impressed.

The unmanned vehicle, which has a top speed of 130 kph, was controlled remotely as it rose from the ground with a thunderous roar and ascended to a height the equivalent of three storeys high — with the sunset and the Ain Dubai observation wheel in the background.

The height it reached was apt given the machine was built for low-altitude flights, making it perfect for city trips.

The flying car, which is in its sixth generation, takes off and lands vertically.

Gitex 2022: in pictures

Updated: October 11, 2022, 6:08 AM