General Motors (GM), the American automaker, has unveiled a futuristic egg-shaped flying Cadillac, a self-driving vehicle which takes off and lands vertically and carries the passenger above the streets and through the air.
The autonomous vehicle lacks traditional controls like a steering wheel and pedals, instead opting for an interior that looks more like a 1970s-era living room. Michael Simcoe, GM’s VP of Global Design, described it as “a social space for a group of friends or family to spend time together on their way to a destination.”
The vehicle features a vertical light signature, expansive glass roof, and biometric sensors to read passengers’ vital signs and use that data to adjust settings like temperature, lighting, ambient noises, and even aromatics. Other options, like voice control and gesture recognition, will ensure making those adjustments is mostly effortless.
The company also showed off a single-seater electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft during its keynote address at the event.
The VTOL concept looks like a more futuristic version of some of the air taxi prototypes that are under development right now. Mr. Simcoe called it GM’s “first foray into aerial mobility”, although it’s just a design exercise, and it’s unclear whether GM actually intends to pursue a commercialized version. It features a boxy silhouette and has fore and aft sliding doors and a panoramic glass roof.
The cabin has wraparound lounge-like seating, plus biometric sensors, voice control and hand gesture recognition. Mr. Simcoe said the Cadillac eVTOL aircraft would use a 90kWh electric motor to power four rotors to enable vertical takeoff and landing. That’s less battery capacity than other eVTOL startups, like Germany’s Lilium, which uses 320kWh motors to power its five-person jet.
Both vehicles are part of Cadillac’s Halo Portfolio and probably won’t be going into production anytime soon or at all. Still, the concepts are meant to show off GM’s design intentions for future products, as well as serving as an extravagant symbol of the brand’s manufacturing skills.
Other automakers, including Toyota Motor, Hyundai Motor and Geely Automobile, have previously shown concept aerial vehicles as part of their future planning.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest technology trade fairs which occurs every year. The show is organized by the Consumer Technology Association and it is hosted in the US, at the Last Vegas Convention Center and attracts nearly 200,000 attendees every year. Owing to the pandemic, this year the event is being held virtually.