Hyundai and Uber have announced a partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
The Korean brand is responsible for the production and deployment while Uber is responsible for airspace support services, connections to ground transportation and customer interface.
Taking to the sky
Hyundai is the first automaker to join the Uber Elevate initiative with the air vehicle concept that makes use of a NASA-inspired approach by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.
Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division, said: "Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation. We expect UAM to vitalize urban communities and provide more quality time to people.
"We are confident that Uber Elevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible.
Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said Hyundai was their first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. He notes: "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 for launching a vibrant air taxi network in the coming years."
Hyundai and Uber developed a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, S-A1, that uses innovative design processes to optimize electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes.
The S-A1 is designed to cruise at a speed of up to 290km/h, a cruising altitude of around 300 to 600m above ground and to fly trips with a range of up to 100km. The full electric model is powered by distributed electric propulsion and will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
It will be operated by a pilot initially but over time they will become autonomous. The cabin can accommodate up to four passengers with space for a small bag as well.
Compiled by: Robin Classen