Hyundai, Uber Partner On Air Taxis


The two companies this week announced a new partnership to develop Uber air taxis and unveiled a full-scale electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) concept aircraft at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

'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'.

USA ride-hailing company Uber Technologies and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor plan to jointly develop electric air taxis, they said on Tuesday, joining the race for flying cars to ease urban congestion.

The new Hyundai-Uber collaboration will result in an eVTOL aircraft dubbed the S-A1, which will have the capacity to carry up to four passengers and travel roughly 60 miles at speeds topping 180 mph.

The plan is for the Korean marque to make and deploy the aircraft while Uber runs the aerial ride-sharing network, airspace support services and connections to ground transport. Hyundai's S-A1 design builds on the design concepts established and shared by Uber Elevate in an attempt to help manufacturers stake a claim in the embryonic air taxi market.

Hyundai's S-A1 flying taxi is created to seat four passengers, initially with a human pilot, but one day they will be autonomous.

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The announcement came after Xi in his New Year's address expressed concern over the situation in Hong Kong where the locals carried out pro-democracy protests.

U.S. planemaker Boeing said in October it was working with Volkswagen's sports auto brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban areas.

The latest concept vehicle from Hyundai, however, is nothing like the previous ones.

Hyundai is the first carmaker to join Uber's air taxi project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences among its partner firms.

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. Hyundai says it will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous. The small building's goal is to connect urban air vehicles like the S-A1 with ground transport, featuring a small landing pad on its top and docking bays for multiple purpose-built vehicles radiating from its center. The vehicles will be integrated with Hyundai's infrastructure concept called the Hub, wherein the PBVs and PAVs will be docked and connected. Design-wise, it has been optimised for vertical take off and landing, thus negating the need for a runway.

"We're just over a week into 2020, and while this Hyundai partnership presents another significant advancement in our Uber Air journey, our approach has always been to be thorough, and to collaborate closely with our local stakeholders and communities", said head of Uber Elevate, Australia, Natalie Malligan in a statement.

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.