Hyundai has unveiled its electric flying car concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The South Korean automaker announced that they will be partnering with Uber to develop their eVTOL air taxi. It will be able to fly on trips of up to 100 km with a cruising speed of up to 290 km/h transporting four passengers.
UberElevate Pushes The Boundaries Of Urban Air Mobility
As part of a wider push from UberElevate toward urban air mobility, Hyundai has now joined seven other aerospace companies also working alongside Uber. Their growing network now includes Aurora Flight Sciences (a subsidiary of Boeing), Bell, Embraer, Joby Aviation, Pipistrel Aircraft, Karem Aircraft and Jaunt Air Mobility.
Hyundai’s “Personal Air Vehicle,” the S-A1 air taxi, will fly between 1,000 and 2,000 feet above the ground for about 100 km with a claimed recharge time of under 10 minutes. While these are impressive numbers, Hyundai must still perform test flights but we know that the 100 km range should be enough to cover most urban areas.
Joby Aviation, another Uber partner, has promised a flying craft with a minimum range of 240 km. In America, this means easy air travel between Los Angeles and San Diego or Philadelphia to Washington D.C. Putting that into perspective locally means flying from Pretoria to Klerksdorp or almost a round-trip between Cape Town and Langebaan.
While it will be more expensive than using an UberX, passengers will travel in luxury and be able to cross even the biggest cities in under 20 minutes. According to Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility Division:
“We expect UAM to vitalize urban communities and provide more quality time to people. We are confident that UberElevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible.”
Uber Air And Hyundai’s Air Taxi Partnership
Both companies have an important role to play as Hyundai will be responsible for producing and deploying the air vehicles while Uber will provide the following:
- airspace support services
- connections to ground transportation
- customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network
“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. We believe Hyundai has the potential to build Uber Air vehicles at rates unseen in the current aerospace industry, producing high quality, reliable aircraft at high volumes to drive down passenger costs per trip” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.
Hyundai stated that the design will incorporate smaller rotors which are quieter than the larger ones on helicopters. While the air vehicle needs a human driver or pilot, they claim it could be autonomous in the future.
Considering they only showed a concept model at CES, Hyundai and Uber have a massive challenge ahead if they want to keep their promise around these specifications. Uber has actually given themselves a deadline by pushing for commercial flights as early as 2023.
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