At the event, Xpeng revealed its new goal to become the world’s top low-altitude manned flying vehicle manufacturer. It then presented the plans for its sixth generation flying car. But this is not just any flying car. This one will also be able to drive on the road.
A video presented during the event showed a rendering of a very sexy looking car, even sexier than the Xpeng P7, that converts from a normal car to a flying car through a foldable rotor mechanism. Xpeng says the low-altitude flying vehicle will be 50% the weight of the P7, and it’ll have a steering wheel for road operations as well as a single lever for flight modes.
The new flying car will also feature an advanced environmental perception system that can fully evaluate the surrounding environment and weather conditions to conduct safety assessments before take-off, says the company. The system will evaluate the data it picks up against driving objectives to ensure a safe take-off and landing, and during the flight the advanced perception and flight control algorithm will be used to avoid obstacles.
Xpeng is planning to begin mass production for this contraption, which is being developed by Xpeng affiliate urban air mobility (UAM) company HT Aero, as soon as 2024. The final design is to be decided sometime next year, and Xiaopeng said Xpeng is aiming for the cost to be lower than $157,000 (RMB 1 million).
Last week, Xpeng led HT Aero’s $500 million Series A raise, and HT Aero has produced other UAM vehicles for Xpeng, most recently the Xpeng X2, which is Xpeng’s fifth gen flying car that can seat two people. Xpeng’s philosophy is to sell direct to consumer, so it’ll be interesting to see how low-altitude air regulations shift to handle a rather fast go-to-market strategy. The company did not go into more detail as to how it would work with regulators to mass-produce its flying car for private use by 2024.
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