Hoverboards and jet suits: Where to see flight demos at the Detroit Auto Show


You’ve heard of Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge.

Lesser-known brands such as Gravity Industries, ICON Aircraft, Omni and AERWINS are also at the Detroit Auto Show this year – and hope to soon become household names in the air mobility industry.

This year’s auto show showcases a handful of futuristic flying machines – and not just in concept. Many vehicles will be demonstrating in flight this weekend during the public show, which runs from September 17-25.

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Here is the list of flying objects and where to find them, including a jet suit, amphibious plane, hoverboard, drone show and more.

  • Gravity Industries Jet Suit: 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday, September 17, 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday, September 18, all at Riverwalk-Hart Plaza
  • ICON A5 light amphibious aircraft (because they can land in water): Every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. from Thursday, September 15 to Sunday, September 18, landing on the Detroit River in front of Huntington Place
  • omni hoverboard: 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 17 and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, all at Riverwalk-Hart Plaza
  • AIR ONE: The two-seater flying machine will offer a virtual reality experience for people to try out on its indoor screen throughout the event
  • Sigma-6 Airspace Experience Technologies: The indoor exhibit won’t leave the ground, but will light up its propellers to show how quiet its electric motor is
  • AERWINS Technologies Xturismo Hover Bike: The only scheduled launch for the luxury air cruiser Xturismo was Thursday at a local airport
  • Drone Show: 300 to 400 drones will fly 200 feet in the air over the Detroit River at 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Airspace Experience Technologies is the local brand, based at Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit.

His Sigma-6 flying machine has a large display at the front of the showroom floor. Like many of the flying vehicles at the show, it is considered an eVTOL – electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle.

It therefore takes off like a helicopter, then flies like an airplane, for greater efficiency.

“Our goal is to make this competitive with taxis traveling from a regional airport to a major metropolitan airport,” said Gregg Peterson, Sigma-6’s chief engineer. “We see it as a way to get people there faster.”

The all-electric Sigma-6 connects to pods – which can carry people or cargo – and carries them 25 to 50 miles at 150 mph at low altitudes. The plan is to start shipping goods by 2025 and people a few years later, Peterson said.

The company wants the machines to be fully autonomous by 2030.

“A good example is in Detroit, there’s an assembly plant 3 miles away from a supplier that makes parts,” Peterson said. “So they have over 100 Class 8 trucks going 3 miles through a city – red lights, foot traffic, creating congestion, creating oil.”

The Sigma-6 could eliminate many of those hassles, he said. Peterson said it could also be used for medical evacuations and fighting wildfires.

Although the Sigma-6 has already lifted off the ground, it is not making it to Huntington Place this week. However, they turn on the propellers so people can hear how quiet the machine is.

The Detroit Auto Show is the Sigma-6’s first public appearance — and so far people are big fans, Peterson said.

“They love it,” he said. “Very, very excited. When we explain that you’re going to be able to take this instead of a taxi, people get excited.


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