Regardless of whether you believe flying cars will become a legitimate way to get around, there’s no doubting that people around the world are in love with the idea. There’s always been something inherently cool about the idea of skipping across the sky in a personal vehicle.

That’s why Intel capped its keynote address at this year’s CES by letting an 18-rotor air taxi prototype (octadecacopter?) known as the Volocopter VC200 fly across the stage, albeit briefly — the first time it’s flown in North America, in fact. No, the Volocopter is not quite a “flying car” as much as it is a “gigantic drone that you can sit in.” But even that’s still cool.

Intel could use some of that cachet. Its image has been scuffed by the recent Meltdown and Spectre security issues, as well as the questions surrounding a sell-off of shares by CEO Brian Krzanich.

But even if you push that aside, the company is locked in an ongoing, white knuckle battle with Nvidia that spans across a vast set of technologies, many of which involve moving people around in futuristic ways. The wounds are fresh, too — one night before Intel’s keynote, Nvidia added Uber and VW to a list of transportation customers and partners that stretches into the hundreds.

So bringing Volocopter, a 50-person aviation startup from Germany, to CES — and America — for the first time ever is a way for Intel to step up and say, “hey, look at this cool thing we’re working on!”

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