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China soaring ahead of rivals with Aircar deal

Rahul Pathak in London


They've long been a staple of science fiction movies, but it now looks like flying cars could soon be a reality.

A Chinese company has bought the exclusive rights to mass produce a vehicle known as the AirCar for use in China itself.

The Future is Now

Ask most people about their vision of the future and the words 'flying cars' are one of the first things that come to mind.

Films from the silent classic Metropolis, to more contemporary blockbusters like Back to the Future and Blade Runner have often used the idea of airborne vehicles to give us a snapshot of a more technologically advanced world.

That world came a step closer with the news that China's Hebei Jianxin Flying Car Technology company has signed a deal to produce and distribute the AirCar - originally developed by Slovakian firm KleinVision.

Aviation Consultant Dr Steve Wright told CGTN Europe that the news was hugely significant.

He said: "The rules that are going to be applied to all this technology are very similar to those governing small private aircraft or general aviation. And it sounds a bit hair-raising when I say they are about 100 times less safe than conventional airliners but even then they are about the same level of safety as taking a taxi ride."‌

The AirCar was originally developed by Slovakian firm KleinVision. /AP
The AirCar was originally developed by Slovakian firm KleinVision. /AP

The AirCar was originally developed by Slovakian firm KleinVision. /AP


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At home on the road or in the air

The AirCar first took to the skies back in 2021 with this prototype completing a 35-minute test flight.

The car itself runs on petrol and takes just over two minutes to transform from a road vehicle into an aircraft.

Weighing in at 1,000 kg, the 2 seater has a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour and can fly at a maximum altitude of nearly 2,500 meters.

Wright said the news that a Chinese company is moving ahead with mass production means the country could steal a march on its rivals and become a market leader in airborne transport.

Speaking to CGTN Europe he said: "The Chinese have got the money and the political will to keep going and make the huge investment to actually make this happen. I think they recognize this is one of their strengths, that effectively this is such a new technology it's like a big leveller for everybody. So the former advantage that western companies have got, probably isn't there so much."

Cars to be sold for use in China

Vehicles based on the AirCar design will now be manufactured by Hebei Jianxin. The firm says it will be sold for use within a "specific geographical region" of China, which has yet to be disclosed.

So the prospect of airborne traffic jams is probably a few years away yet.

China soaring ahead of rivals with Aircar deal

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