HT Aero, an Aviation Company Backed by Chinese EV Startup XPeng, Details its Latest ‘Flying Vehicle' Named the X2
【Summary】Aviation company HT Aero, which is backed by Chinese electric automaker XPeng Inc, has unveiled future urban usage scenarios for its fifth-generation eVTOL flying vehicle dubbed the “XPeng X2." The X2 will be presented at the 13th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2021) beginning Sept 28 to showcase its abilities.
In the future, commuters may take to the skies in congested urban areas with compact electric aircraft and sailing past traffic below. There are many new startups working on electric vertical take off & landing (eVTOL) aircraft for urban air mobility (UAM), including Toyota-backed Joby Aviation, Volocopter, Lilium, Ehang and HT Aero, which is backed by Chinese electric automaker XPeng.
HT Aero has unveiled future urban usage scenarios for its fifth-generation flying vehicle dubbed the "XPeng X2" including autonomous flight take-off and landing, scheduling, charging and flight control.
The XPeng X2 will be presented at the 13th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2021) beginning Sept 28 to showcase its abilities.
The X2 is a two-seater enclosed-cockpit eVTOL aircraft that combines both automotive and aerospace technologies for urban flight. It's equipped with an intelligent flight control system and autonomous flying capability, able to conduct autonomous flight route planning, all-round real-time imaging, real-time flight monitoring, two-way real-time communications, all-round environmental perception and autonomous return and landing.
The XPeng X2 is the latest generation flying vehicle independently developed by HT Aero. It has already undergone more than 15,000 safe, manned flights, according to XPeng. The latest generation of the X2 has been significantly improved over the previous generation.
The X2 adopts a closed cockpit for the first time, with styling that shares the design language borrowed from XPeng's P7 smart sedan. It presents an elegant, minimalist "sci-fi appearance", according to XPeng.
It's powered by a highly efficient and convenient charging system, leveraging XPeng's supercharging technology developed for its electric cars. The X2 has a plug-in charging port that's similar to an electric car. The X2 also utilizes high-efficiency aerodynamics to optimize flight performance which can also help increase range.
The X2 is fully autonomous in flight, meaning that users only need to press a single key for core functions such as take off and landing. The design makes its much more intuitive for users and ensures a safe flight experience for inexperienced pilots.
Before take-off, the flight control systems in the X2 performs intelligent autonomous route planning based on the destination entered by the user. The system evaluates factors such as surrounding buildings, no-fly and restricted areas, as well as weather conditions in order to calculate a safe flight path.
HT Aero recently shared a series of videos like the one above which demonstrated how a typical commute might look like in the X2. It also showed how the X2 can connect to the airport and other transportation hubs, simulating how business or leisure travelers might use an urban air taxi service.
The X2 is built using a full carbon fiber structure. It weighs in at 560 kilograms when empty and with the battery installed. Maximum take-off weight of 760 kilograms (1,675 lbs.) with a capacity for two passengers.
Maximum cruising speed is 130 kilometers per hour (80 mph). The X2 is designed to fly for 35 minutes at an altitude of under 1,000 meters, making it suitable for low-altitude urban air mobility.
With its top speed of 130 kilometers per hour, the X2 can meet the needs of short-distance urban transportation, but can also serve as an air patrol, field rescue aircraft and for emergency medical transportation.
HT Aero, founded in 2013, aspires to be a pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM). The company is dedicated to producing safe and intelligent electric flying vehicles to realize domestic air-travel usage at scale.
HT Aero is jointly funded and controlled by automaker XPeng Inc, its founder and chairman Mr. He Xiaopeng, and ZHAO Deli, best known as the inventor of a single seat flying hoverbike called the "Magic Cloud." The company has a team of highly experienced R&D associates in fields such as avionics, test flight, airworthiness, safety, structural mechanics, industrial design and embedded systems.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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