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China’s Xpeng AeroHT electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (eVTOL) firm recently showcased a first-seen “Land Aircraft Carrier” modular flying van, which features a two-part design that can seamlessly switch between a terrestrial and aerial mode. It was showcased during the Xpeng Tech Day 2023.
The air module allows vertical takeoff for low-altitude flights, while the ground module encases the air module and allows land transportation. The company claims the model “holds potential for public services like emergency rescue, effectively catering to both public and private demands.”
According to Interesting Engineering, the ground model of the flying van can accommodate 4-5 passengers and has an extended-range hybrid power system that can recharge the air module several times. It also has impressive hauling capacity and off-road capabilities.
The air module on the other hand is an electric-piloted airplane that can take off vertically and fly at low altitudes. It enables both manual and automated driving modes (making flying more accessible) and has a large field of view through the 270° panoramic two-person cockpit.
The company said in a statement that the “automated system streamlines the separation and combination of the air and ground modules just like the Transformers, making flying more accessible and extending the user’s travel experience from the ground to the sky.”
In addition to the current concept, AeroHT also showcased a more evolved version of the flying van that will be built within two years of the development of the original concept and has additional modifications, like the ability to fold its manipulator arms, rotor systems, and other flying characteristics that may be folded and stowed within the vehicle with ease.
The firm also demonstrated advancements in safety technologies concerning its eVTOL technology at the event, showing that the flight control system can make millisecond-level algorithm modifications in the event of rotor loss, assuring the aircraft’s ongoing safe operation. According to AeroHT, this capability enables the aircraft to retain safe flight even after losing two of its six rotors.
Another advantage for the vehicle’s safety is its new multi-parachute rescue system, successfully tested at a height of only 50 meters, meaning it could function in ultra-low altitude rescues.