Chinese flying car firm buys tech from European leader

27th March 2024
Kristian McCann

The advanced tech created for the 'world's first certified flying car' has been acquired by a Chinese corporation from its European creator company. This marks a notable advancement in transportation innovation, as the vehicle, which showcased it take-off, 35 minutes flight, and landing between the two Slovakian airports in 2021, can now be deployed within China.

This acquisition provides Hebei Jianxin Flying Car Technology Company, based in Cangzhou, licensing agreement for exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute flying cars using KleinVision's technology within a 'specific' - yet undisclosed - geographical region. This company has not only built its own airport but also established a flight school, following its acquisition of technology from another Slovak aircraft producer.

A vehicle powered by a conventional BMW engine, AirCar is a dual-mode craft which can reach heights of more than 8,000ft and speeds of over 100mph, the vehicle sets itself apart from drone-like passenger aircraft by requiring a runway for take-off and landing. It was certified to fly in Slovakia back in 2022 after completing more than 200 take-offs and landings during 70 hours of rigorous flight testing to European Aviation Safety Agency standards.  

Like with EV, where they already hold a large share of the market, China's purchase of the AirCar tech highlights the country’s bid for leadership in pioneering the next frontier of transportation. This venture into flying transport solutions is demonstrated by last month's test flight of a passenger-carrying drone, which dramatically reduced travel time between Shenzhen and Zhuhai from three hours by car to just 20 minutes, albeit without passengers. Moreover, in 2023, the Chinese company eHang received a safety certification for its electric flying taxi.

The concept of flying cars used as part of daily transport has been a long-held idea. Yet, it has faced several challenges, including infrastructure, regulation, and public acceptance. A big hurdle for the concept could be the push towards net zero coming in before the concept has even matured. Like with EVs, electrifying flying cars would prove an additional hinderance to their rollout due to the unique operational demands these vehicles would place on batteries, distinct from traditional EVs. The purchase, however, gives space China to leverage its less cumbersome regulatory history to innovate and get the tech up to speed sector.

The UK government recently announced their belief that flying taxis will be whizzing around British skies by 2028, with Morgan Stanley estimating the global market for flying cars to hit $1 trillion in 2040, before exploding to $9 trillion in 2050.  

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