Hyundai will make flying cars for Uber’s air taxi service
Like the Porsche in Your Rear-View Mirror, They're Almost Here
Recently, Hyundai released a flying car concept that it was bringing to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The full-scale prototype was then displayed at CES. Now the South Korean automaker has upped the ante.
Not only will Hyundai mass produce these electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, but it will also deploy them for Uber’s promised air taxi network.
Uber announced its aerial ambitions back in 2016 with a white paper that outlined a future “Uber Elevate” project. The ride-hailing company has said it wants to perform its own test flights in 2020, and plans to launch some version of an air taxi service in 2023, starting in Dallas Texas, Los Angeles, California and Melbourne, Australia.
Uber also recently announced that it will offer helicopter rides in New York from lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Now Hyundai is along for the ride (flight?). This is important because Hyundai is in essence lending its manufacturing credibility to Uber’s ambitious plan to launch an urban air taxi system by the mid-2020s. Based on the specs, though, Hyundai’s Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) won’t be some Sonata in the sky. With two tilt-rotors on the tail, and 10 other rotors distributed around the egg-shaped cabin, the aircraft is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
"HYUNDAI IS IN ESSENCE LENDING ITS MANUFACTURING CREDIBILITY TO UBER’S AMBITIOUS PLAN"
The five-person vehicle will have a cruising speed of 290 km/h and a cruising altitude of around 300–600 meters above ground. Hyundai says by using smaller, electric-powered rotors, the vehicle will produce less noise than a combustion engine helicopter, which is crucial for cities worried about noise pollution.
During peak hours, it will require only about five to seven minutes for recharging. And Hyundai says it will have a range of 100 kilometers between charging.
Landing Hub and Purpose-Built Vehicle
And that’s not all. Hyundai also unveiled concepts for a landing hub and an eco-friendly “Purpose Built Vehicle” (PBV) for ground transportation to and from the station. The PBV resembles a beige rectangle and will utilize AI to find optimal routes and travel in platoons, Hyundai says. Each PBV will be able to serve various functions, such as transit, coffee shop, or medical clinic.
CES 2021 will be held as an online event. We'll get a better idea then of how this joint Uber-Hyundai project is going.