GM’s Flying Taxi Concept Won’t Save Cadillac

At least, not on its own.

byRob Stumpf| UPDATED Jan 13, 2021 12:32 PM
GM’s Flying Taxi Concept Won’t Save Cadillac

General Motors revealed two new Cadillac concepts at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, showcasing a boxy pod-like design (similar to Cruise Origin, albeit more luxurious) called the Halo, as well as a flying car concept that showcases the brand's vision of future mobility.

The news was announced during GM's virtual keynote, which was focused on the brand's shift to electromobility and its upcoming features built on the all-new Ultium platform. Despite teasing vehicles like the Hummer EV and a potential glimpse at a Corvette-based SUV, the real focus was Cadillac which will serve as the north star of the entire company's pivot to battery-powered cars.

First up was the Halo, a ride-hailing pod meant to give customers a way to interact with one another while in transit to their destination. General Motors design chief Michael Simcoe showed off the brand's concept of what luxurious, fully autonomous transportation might mean in the future—free of buttons, switches, and anything that might take passenger's eyes off of each other...or, more likely, their cell phones.

Passengers are expected to control the vehicle's functions using voice control or hand gestures. Amenities like temperature and lighting will instead be controlled through biometric sensors which can adjust them to ideal levels. Even in-car aromatics will be automatic, which we'll leave up to you to determine what that might be used for.

via GM (CES 2021)

In case you want something a bit more personal, there's the Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. I know that sounds like something you'd use in Call of Duty, but it's not—it's the actual name of a concept ushered under the Cadillac brand.

As the name might imply, the concept is for a vehicle that takes passengers from point-to-point by flying. GM says that the concept is designed to be used "when time is of the essence and when convenience is everything," which we imagine roughly translates to "this won't be cheap." The aircraft uses a 90-kilowatt EV motor to power the blades and is said to be theoretically capable of speeds up to 56 miles per hour, and can transport passengers from vertiport to vertiport using connected and autonomous services.

Cadillac has worked for years to fix its identity problem, first shifting its headquarters from Detroit to New York then back again just a short while later. Leadership changes, model switch-ups and concepts like this have been the story for the luxury brand in recent times, but nothing has stuck so far. High-end means of transportation may be the right direction, but something as far-off as flying cars seems like a stretch.

GM says that it has further concepts that will be revealed, including a luxurious two-seater EV under the Cadillac brand radically different than anything else on the road today.

Simcoe called the concepts "a new chapter of GM's history" and the public seemingly agrees. During early hours trading on Tuesday morning, GM's stock hit all-new highs of $50.78 per share, shattering the previous roof of $46.76 in October 2017. Regardless, it's important to remember that this is a look at the brand's possible future—not tomorrow, not next month, or even five years from now. The world isn't quite ready for the level of autonomy that GM is showcasing, nor will it likely be ready to add another axis used by autonomous drones flying around people as cargo. But it's nice to dream.

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