Since I got a kick out of playing with Transformers as a kid, I couldn't help but get a pang of nostalgia and futuristic excitement all wrapped into one as I came across the Xpeng Aeroht booth at CES 2024.
This supercar concept doubles as a flying car, thanks to propellers that emerge from the back of the vehicle. The eVTOL Flying Car is designed to allow for "effortless navigation through congested areas and obstacles when conditions permit." The last part of that sentence is doing some heavy lifting there, but I at least love the concept of being able to avoid that traffic jam by soaring above it.
Xpeng Aeroht, which claims to be the largest flying car company in Asia, says its eVTOL Flying Car addresses the demand for short-distance, low altitude travel. Speaking of low, the propellers don't sit that much higher than the vehicle itself, so you definitely don't want to have a passenger hop in after this thing starts spinning.
While this flying car didn't fly at CES, the company did demonstrate how the the vehicle opens is arms, which is supposed to facilitate vertical take-offs and landings — just like the best drones.
The whole process wasn't exactly quick, but I was mesmerized as the propellers raised from the back of the supercar and then spread out. They even spun slightly as if to tease the audience.
Inside the eVTOL Flying Car is a dual-mode cockpit that seats two. Sorry, no room for the entire family — the flying components take up too much room. And there's a both a square steeling wheel/yoke and a joystick for controlling the vehicle.
As reported by The Sun, co-founder, vice president, and chief designer of Xpeng Aeroht, Wang Tan, said that, "Everybody wants to fly actually and to have another view, another angle, to see the gorgeous view."
Tan also said that users will be able to beat traffic and fly out of congestion zones. Given the mess that is our air traffic control system — not to mention how many crashes on see on my NJ to NYC commute during a given week — I don't know how far away this dream is. But what is CES if not a place to dream.
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Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.