As each New Year emerges, so the longest running global tech-related event arrives, usually in the first week of January, and usually held in the Las Vegas Convention Centre in Winchester, USA. If you represent a company on the cutting-edge of technology or are a proud “techie”, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), organised by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), is the place to be. This year the occasion runs from Thursday, January 5th to Sunday the 8th.

Founded in 1967, the first event attracted 200 exhibitors with 17,500 people attending. In 2023, these figures have swelled to 3,200+ companies from 173 different countries and regions alongside an expected public attendance of close to 200,000. What makes this year’s exhibition so important is, it is free from Covid concerns or restrictions which have dogged the show during the last two years.

So, who from the eVTOL and Drone-related industries are exhibiting this year?

Back in 2020, Hyundai and Uber announced at CES their collaboration to develop an eVTOL. This has now moved on to the Supernal project. So, the event is taken seriously by the eVTOL industry.

Aska A5 Flying Car (image: Aska)

On Thursday, major news was announced from the flying car manufacturer, Aska, who unveiled its eVTOL A5 hybrid-powered vehicle at CES. This is a serious contender within the highly specialised flying car industry.

Roughly the size of a typical SUV, it is described as “the first four-seater electric vehicle that can travel by road and up to 250 miles by air” on a single charge due to its gas-range extender. While viewed as more of an airplane/ helicopter than a traditional motor car, the A5 has wings and propellors that can fold away whenever it is driven on a road.

While the A5 can take off vertically, it has the flexibility to use a runway like a traditional airplane. When flying, the wings and six rotors unfold. Aska notes the wing has been optimised for “gliding, smooth landings and efficient energy consumption.”

The company states the flying car is powered by a proprietary power system combining lithium-ion battery packs and a gas-driven engine acting as an onboard range extender. The A5 has four in-wheel electric motors to produce all-wheel drive traction which improves the aerodynamics and maximises the interior space. The craft has a flight speed of up to 150 mph and 70 mph on roads.

Guy Kaplinsky, Co-founder and CEO of Aska, said at CES, “Our unveil represents something that has never been accomplished in the world, but which humans have dreamed of for decades: a fully functional, full-scale prototype of a Drive and eVTOL – a real flying car.”

He continued, “Aska is positioned as a new generation vehicle that combines the convenience of an automobile with the ease and efficiency of VTOL and STOL flight. It is a vehicle that addresses not only consumers, but also significant business potential in emergency response and military use.”

A5 Driver’s Cabin (graphic image: Aska)

Apart from selling the A5 privately, Aska plans to launch an on-demand ride service in 2026. To order one there is an initial USD5,000 deposit required. The cost to buy the A5 is USD789,000.

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Not to be outdone, the drone industry also made a major announcement at CES on Thursday.

U.S-based, Acadian Ambulance, one of America’s largest privately owned medical transport companies, stated it has selected Blueflite’s drone and digital platform to develop “a first-of-its-kind, drone-based emergency response solution for lifesaving medical deliveries.”

This will be a joint development to provide much faster delivery of medical equipment and medicines around the U.S than what is possible using present conventional transport.

Based on Blueflite’s advanced logistics drone platform, with R&D support from survey and engineering firm, Fenstermaker, this partnership will provide fast response by delivering critical equipment to emergency sites.

Blueflite Drone (image: blueflite)

Frank Noppel, Blueflite’s CEO, commented at CES, “When every second counts, using drones will shorten emergency response times considerably, save lives, and reduce cost in healthcare.”

Benjamin Swig, Director of Healthcare Innovation and Strategy at Acadian Ambulance, added, “This is the next step in the future of medical response, and we are excited to further its development in conjunction with Blueflite and Fenstermaker.”

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All major exhibitions have the obligatory keynote speakers and CES has attracted a wide variety of notable people this year.

eVTOL and Drone industry-related examples include Rajeev Chand (Wing Drone Delivery); Carlos Tavares of Stellantis (partners with Archer Aviation); and Ed Bastian of Delta Airlines (partners with Joby Aviation).

From the other 895 speakers involved at the show (!) examples include JoeBen Bevirt (Joby); Beth Flippo (Drone Express); Robert Hampshire (U.S DOT); Tom Muniz (Archer); and Gregory Bowles (Joby).

I wonder what other breaking news will be announced over the coming long weekend?

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(Top image: CTA)