- Hyundai will produce and deploy these new Air Taxis.
- Through Uber’s Elevate Network initiative, they will provide airspace support services.
- Launch date is “in the coming years” according to Uber.
The dream of accessible air mobility is an old one. For decades, every transportation-related company has dreamt of introducing the one flying vehicle that will take you and I wherever we need to go by ways of the air. In this scenario, Hyundai would build and provide the flying vehicles and Uber would manage the related logistics.
For the first time, flying from one end of the city to the other almost seems like a feasibility. Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division has developed a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) called the S-A1. It utilizes innovative design processes that will enable electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) for aerial ride-sharing purposes.
In Uber’s corner, they will not only deliver airspace support but create all the necessary links, from ground transportation and customer interfaces, to make it all happen. Importantly, as these PAVs won’t be able to land anywhere they please, both companies are working on establishing infrastructure concepts to enable take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.
Here are details on the Hyundai S-A1 (from the press release):
- It is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles/hr (290 km/hr), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet (300 – 600m) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km).
- The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric, utilizing distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
- Hyundai’s electric aircraft utilizes distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important to cities.
- The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
- The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
- The cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing riders to board / disembark easily and avoid the dreaded middle seat with enough space for a personal bag or backpack / rider.
Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, has this to say about the project: “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. Combining Hyundai’s manufacturing muscle with Uber’s technology platform represents a giant leap forward for launching a vibrant air taxi network in the coming years.”