European flying car technology sold to China

European flying car technology sold to China

The technology behind the flying car, originally developed and successfully tested in Europe, has been bought by a Chinese firm.

Powered by a BMW engine and regular fuel, the AirCar will fly for 35 minutes between two Slovakian airports in 2021, using runways for takeoff and landing.

It takes over two minutes to transform from car to plane.

Now vehicles based on his design will be used in China’s “specific geographic regions”.

Hebei Jianxin Flying Car Technology Company, headquartered in Cangzhou, has purchased the exclusive rights to manufacture and use the AirCar aircraft in an undisclosed location.

The firm has built its own airport and flight school after previous acquisitions from other Slovak aircraft manufacturers, said Anton Zajac, co-founder of KleinVision, the company that created the AirCar.

Having led the development of the EV revolution, China is now actively developing flying transportation solutions.

Last month a firm called Autoflight conducted a test flight of a passenger-carrying drone between the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. The trip, which took three hours by car, was completed in 20 minutes, he said – even though the plane was carrying no passengers.

And in 2023, Chinese firm eHang was awarded a safety certificate by Chinese officials for its electric flying taxi. Here, the UK government says flying taxis could become a regular feature of the skies by 2028.

The government wants flying taxis to take off within 2 years
But unlike passenger aircraft such as these drones, the AirCar does not take off and land vertically, and requires a runway.

KleinVision declined to say how much it has sold the technology for. The AirCar was issued with an airworthiness certificate by the Slovak Transport Authority in 2022 and featured in a video published by YouTuber Mr Beast earlier this year.

There are still many barriers to this form of transportation in terms of infrastructure, regulations and public acceptance of the technology.

“This brave new world of personal transportation acts as a great generalizer,” says aviation consultant Steve Wright.

The global attempt to control the sector has “everyone scrambling to come up with a new set of questions to ask”.

“In this respect, Western history can sometimes slow things down, as there is little temptation to try and fit these new machines into old categories,” added Mr Wright. “China can see this as an opportunity to move forward.”

The same concern once applied to electric cars – where China has become the global market leader.

The sale of the Slovakian AirCar could raise questions about whether China might be ready to do the same with flying cars.

Mr Wright said that while prototypes like the AirCar were “a lot of fun”, the reality would probably be more common “with queues and baggage checks and so on”.

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