Hyundai and Uber create Air Taxis
Innovation26 February 2020
“Roads,” said Doctor Emmett Brown in the final scene of hit-80s film Back to the Future, “where we’re going we don’t need roads!”
OK, so 35 years later we still very much need roads which is why Doc Brown would be very impressed with what was recently on show at Booth 5431 in the Las Vegas Convention Centre’s North Hall.
The world-famous Consumer Electronics Show (CES) provided the perfect backdrop for Hyundai to announce its partnership with Uber to develop Air Taxis for a future aerial ride share network.
Hyundai is the first car company to join the Uber Elevate initiative and unveiled a full-scale electric Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) concept, the S-A1, at the show.
“Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation,” said Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division. “We are confident that Uber Elevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible.”
Hyundai’s fully electric S-A1 model is designed to take off and land vertically, cruise at speeds of up to 180mph at altitudes between 1,000 and 2,000 feet, and have a range of up to 60 miles. The air taxi concept is powered by multiple rotors and propellers to increase safety and reduce noise, has been designed with four passenger seats, and although it is intended to be piloted at first, it will become autonomous over time.
In the groundbreaking partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, whilst Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network. Both companies are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing.
“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,” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate. “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.”