XPENG AEROHT introduces future of mobility with “two revolutionary transport designs”

China-based XPENG AEROHT, an affiliate of XPENG Motors, unveiled not one but “two revolutionary transport designs” at this week’s XPENG Tech Day 2023, reports a press release. First, the Land Aircraft Carrier + eVTOL and second, the Flying Car. Both include a range of innovative safety advancements, highlighting how advanced China is, in the global race to dominate the future of mobility.

Land Aircraft Carrier + eVTOL AKA Modular Ground Flying Car

The release states, “This innovative marvel boasts a unique two-part design, seamlessly switching between a terrestrial and aerial mode. The air module facilitates vertical takeoff for low-altitude flights, while the ground module ingeniously envelops the air module, allowing for ground transportation.”

It continues, “The ground module of the modular flying car accommodates four to five passengers and features an extended-range hybrid power system that can provide multiple recharges for the air module. The vehicle is designed with a three-axle, six-wheel configuration, enabling 6x6 all-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering, offering impressive carrying capacity and off-road capabilities.” Adding, “The futuristic, cyber-mechanical aesthetic is characterised by sharp lines and sleek surfaces, reminiscent of a lunar exploration vehicle.”

Xpeng points out the ground module design is still in development. 

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Meanwhile, the eVTOL is a fully electric piloted aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and low-altitude flight. The release continues, “The product employs a distributed electric propulsion system to meet single-point failure safety requirements. It supports both manual and automatic driving modes, providing an accessible flying experience. The 270° panoramic two-person cockpit offers a wide field of view.”

An automated system streamlines the separation and combination of the air and ground modules “just like the Transformers, making flying more accessible and extending the user’s travel experience from the ground to the sky.”

Beyond personal use, Xpeng believes the system holds potential for public services like emergency rescue, while “effectively catering to both public and private demands.”

Considering policy, regulation and application factors, the production and delivery of the modular flying car will precede the eVTOL flying car, aligning with industry trends.

eVTOL Flying Car AKA Air Module

The release states, “This product continues to build upon the previous two years of innovation, with further refinements. Components such as manipulator arms, rotor systems, and other flight features can be effortlessly folded and stored within the vehicle. The design exudes a supercar style, featuring an intelligent cockpit that seamlessly switches between land and flight modes, adapting components like the steering wheel and dashboard according to the selected mode.”

Safety remains key to future mobility and XPENG AEROHT also showcased significant advancements within its latest technologies. The air module eVTOL features “a 6‑axis, 6‑rotor configuration and incorporates two innovative reversible ducts.” If a rotor fails, the flight control system “can make millisecond-level algorithm adjustments, ensuring the craft’s continued safe operation.” This capability, coupled with a thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding two, enables the aircraft “to maintain safe flight even after losing two of its six rotors, meeting the stringent safety standards required for civil aviation.”

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To enhance safety further, XPENG AEROHT has developed a multi-parachute rescue system. Successfully tested at just 50 metres altitude in October, “this breakthrough fills a global safety gap in ultra-low altitude rescues.” 

The system’s maximum capacity is one ton and includes pioneering features like ultra-low altitude parachute opening and an embedded safety rescue control panel. Xpeng points out, “It breaks industry standards by deploying parachutes at 50 metres instead of the usual 200+ metres, ensuring a safer touchdown at approximately 5 m/s, protecting passengers and the aircraft.”

Earlier this year, various policies relating to the low-altitude economy, totalling over 120, were released by central and local authorities in China.

In October, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, along with the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance, and the Civil Aviation Administration, jointly unveiled the ‘Outline for the Development of Green Aviation Manufacturing (2023–2035)’. The plan lays out a strategic timeline for the development of eVTOLs.

In the previous month, the Beijing Municipal Government’s ‘Plan for Promoting Innovation in Future Industries’ focuses on smart transportation, encouraging the convergence of various industrial technologies. These policy initiatives underscore a commitment to creating a thriving environment for the development of the China’s eVTOL and flying car industry.

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