Hyundai Motor, Uber team up to launch flying taxis by 2023

2020.01.07 11:47:11 | 2020.01.07 12:45:29

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]

South Korean auto giant Hyundai Motor Co. has become the hardware and solution technology behind Uber’s flying taxis due to take off in 2023.

Chung Euisun, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, unveiled S-A1, a full-scale mock-up of the electrically-powered personal air vehicle (PAV) made together with Uber, at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday.

The five-person vehicle designed to take off and land vertically can fly 290 kilometers per hour at an altitude of around 300-600 meters above ground, according to Hyundai Motor.

It is lighter and quieter than a combustion engine helicopter. The vehicle will initially be piloted, but eventually become unmanned, the company explained.

“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale,” Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said in a statement. “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.”

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]

In 2016, Uber unveiled its ambitions to deploy air taxis under the Uber Elevate project. The ride-hailing company is planning to begin demonstration flights this year and launch commercial air flight services by 2023.

Hyundai Motor also revealed its aerial ambitions in November at the Mobility Innovators Forum in San Francisco. The company had said it wanted to develop PAVs by 2023 and start rolling out the flying vehicles in select regions by 2029.

The Korean automaker will move to strike more global partnerships to grow its urban air mobility business, which includes building a PAV fleet, carrying out repair and maintenance services, and developing a landing hub, the company said.

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]

Hyundai Motor at the CES conference outlined the three pillars that would make up its future mobility framework.

First is achieving Urban Air Mobility (UAM), a mobility solution that utilizes PAVs to make airspace available for urban transportation. Safety would be the utmost priority, along with achieving low noise, economic efficiency and accessibility, the company said.

Second is building an eco-friendly Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV), an on-the-ground transportation system that uses artificial intelligence to find optimal routes. The electric-powered vehicle would be designed so that it can be separated into lower and upper body sections and the body length extended up to six meters from the standard four. Such customizations can be made to serve different functions, such as offering urban shuttle services or giving rides whether they may be to coffee shops or hospitals.

The Hub connects the air-based UAM to the ground-based PBV. On the ground floor would be a docking station for PBVs, and on the top a skyport for the takeoff and landing of PAVs.

By Kang Gye-man and Kim Hyo-jin

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