Xpeng Aeroht’s flying car X2 makes China’s first cross-river eVTOL flight

Year to date, it also flew the eVTOL device in multiple scenarios including central business district, offshore environment, desert and scenic spot.

Xpeng Aeroht (小鹏汇天), an eVTOL startup affiliated with EV maker Xpeng (小鹏汽车, Nasdaq: XPEV, HK: 09868), yesterday conducted its first cross-river demonstration flight in central China’s Hunan Province.

X2, a two-seat flying car developed by Aeroht, took off from the Xiangjiang Fund Town west of Xiang River, which bisects Changsha, the provincial capital.

It then flew across the river and landed on the Zhoutou Square, a local landmark, 1.5 km away, in a 4-minute journey.

Photo courtesy of Peng Sui

Before the cross-river flight yesterday, Aeroht had completed close to 4,000 test flights with X2, putting the aircraft to a series of “strict” tests on structure, locomotion, flight control, autonomous piloting and data monitoring, said the Guangzhou-based company.

Year to date, it also flew the eVTOL device in multiple scenarios including central business district, offshore environment, desert and scenic spot.

Based on the R&D results and experience gained from scenario exploration, Aeroht is committed to developing the next-gen amphibious flying car and plans to mass produce and deliver it in 2025, said Zhao Deli, founder and president of Aeroht.

He credited the Hunan government for relaxing its low-altitude airspace restrictions, paving the way for Aeroht to undertake the country’s first cross-river eVTOL flight.

“This is not just a cross-river flight, it is meaningful in that it marks the start of a series of research efforts,” Zhao noted.

He explained that the firm will begin looking at issues like integrated operation of ground and aerial transportation, low-altitude flight path planning and construction of an eVTOL vertipad, among others.

To mark the flight, Aeroht also signed a cooperation framework agreement with a number of Hunan-based aviation operators and research institutes, aiming to explore the application scenarios of flying cars and tap the opportunities of a low-altitude urban aerial mobility (UAM) system.

The signitories also pledged to construct a test zone in Hunan for the eVTOL industry, to set a template for the development of a UAM network in Hunan and even nationwide.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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