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Flying cars showcased at CES 2021

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The flying Cadillac developed by General Motors.
The flying Cadillac developed by General Motors.

Global vehicle manufactures, General Motors and Archer Aviation, showcased their futuristic flying vehicles, or electric vertical take-off and landing (e-VTOL) aircraft, at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021.

The automakers displayed concept videos of their innovative flying machines, which provide door-to-door passenger transportation by both ground and air, at significantly shorter travel times.

According to experts, futuristic flying machines could be a reality from as early as 2023, influenced by the growing demand for convenient passenger mobility, advances in battery energy density, safety, environmental conservation and computer simulation, among others.

Companies such as Airbus, Boeing and Uber are currently trialling their e-VTOL prototypes, as they race to bring the first flying vehicle range to market.

General Motors’ Cadillac

At the world’s biggest consumer show this week, GM showed off several new vehicles, including a stylish autonomous e-VTOL from its luxury vehicles division, Cadillac.

The American multinational automaker says its self-driving single-passenger car will be able to travel from urban rooftop to other urban destinations at speeds of up to 55 miles (88.5km) per hour.

It describes the fully autonomous and all-electric vehicle as “re-imagining the future of personal transportation”. It has a 90kW motor, a GM ultium battery system, and an ultra-lightweight body with four pairs of rotors.

Described in the video as “arriving soon”, the flying car features fore and rear sliding doors and a panoramic glass roof.

GM shares were up 5.8% to $47.62 in early afternoon trade yesterday, following the announcement of the flying vehicle.

Archer Aviation’s all-electric airline
Archer Aviation’s all-electric airline

Archer Aviation

California-based air taxi start-up Archer Aviation has partnered with Fiat Chrysler to develop an airline of e-VTOL aircraft for use in urban transport.

In the short teaser video, Archer announced it is working on producing what it calls "the world's first all-electric airline".

The sleek aircraft travels 60 miles (96.5km) per hour at speeds of up to 150mph (241km) – making it more suited to shuttling passengers around cities, rather than between them.

“We are excited to team up with one of the world's largest automotive companies on our mission of advancing the benefits of sustainable air mobility,” says Adam Goldstein, co-founder and co-CEO of Archer.

“This is a first-of-its-kind deal for one of Detroit’s big three automakers in moving into the urban air mobility space. There is now a clear path for Archer to bring mass production to this industry, changing the way people travel in and around cities forever.”

Archer says it aims to start production of its e-VTOLs at scale beginning in 2023.

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