Chinese firm tests two-passenger electric flying taxi in Dubai

Category: Technology/Innovations


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. glimpse / glɪmps / (n.) – a quick understanding or view of what something is like

    The movie offered a glimpse of the popular businessman’s private life.

  2. affiliate / əˈfɪl i ɪt / (n.) – an organization that’s connected with or controlled by a larger organization

    The broadcasting network has several affiliates around the country.

  3. handful / ˈhænd fʊl / (n.) – a small amount or number

    Only a handful of employees agree to work onsite. Most of them prefer to work from home.

  4. propeller / prəˈpɛl ər / (n.) – equipment with fast, spinning blades that causes ships and aircraft to move

    Just a few meters away from the shore, our boat stopped moving because the propeller broke.

  5. congested / kənˈdʒɛst ɪd / (adj.) – blocked and crowded with people or cars

    The highway is congested due to road repairs.


Read the text below.

Is it a car? Or a plane? Or a drone?

This vehicle-cum-aircraft looks like a larger version of a regular drone.

Created by a Chinese company called XPENG AEROHT, this test of the electric flying taxi offers a glimpse into the future, where people may one day soar through over the city to their destination, leaving traffic jams far below.

The XPeng X2, developed by the Guangzhou-based XPeng Inc.’s aviation affiliate, is one of dozens of flying car projects around the world.

Only a handful have been successfully tested with passengers on board, and it will likely be many years before any are put into service.

This demonstration takes place with an empty cockpit, but the company says it carried out a manned flight test in July 2021.

“This test is very important,” says Omar Al Khan, the executive director of Dubai chamber of commerce and industry.

Al Khan adds that Dubai is working with the private sector on establishing a framework that governs the rules of the flying cars.

“We expect that in 2024 the new generation of the new vehicles will be ready and in 2026 you will see more flying testing. This car is 700 kilograms and it flies. And from a distance, you would not know that it is 700 kilograms. It looks like a drone, but it can fly for 140 kilometers in 45 minutes. This is the first step in achieving the dream,” he says.

The sleekly designed vehicle can carry two passengers and is powered by a set of eight propellers.

The company says it has a top speed of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour.

Ming Quan Qiu, General Manager of Xpeng Aeroht, says after finishing the test: “We are now in the researching process, we are making the step by step to the international market.”

Unlike airplanes and helicopters, eVTOL vehicles offer quick point-to-point personal travel, at least in principle.

The pilot-less vehicles may one day ferry passengers across town high above congested roadways.

But the sector still faces major challenges, including battery life, air traffic control and safety and infrastructure issues.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you think flying cars will really solve our problem with traffic jams? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think flying cars can totally replace regular cars in the future? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • XPeng vehicles are tested with passengers on board. If given the chance, would you like to be a passenger on one of XPeng’s flight test vehicles? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Once flying cars are out in the international market, would you buy one? Would you still want to use a regular car? Why or why not? Discuss.