Hyundai to take to the sky with Uber

By January 9, 2020 Technology

Uber and Hyundai Motor Company have announced a new partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis – as the ride-sharing giant starts its ambitious journey away from the roads and into the clouds.

Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capability and a track record of mass-producing electric vehicles.

In this partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network.

Both parties are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.

“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 expect UAM to vitalise 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.”

In preparation for this announcement, Hyundai has worked with Uber Elevate to develop a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, S-A1, that utilises innovative design processes to optimise electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes.

It is hoped that the Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time will become autonomous.

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

“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.”

Vehicle Specifications

  • It is designed for a cruising speed up to 290 km/hr, a cruising altitude of around 300 – 600 m above ground, and to fly trips up to 100 km.
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric, utilising distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
  • Hyundai’s electric aircraft utilises distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important to cities.
  • The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
  • 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.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia are proud sponsors of AfMA’s 2020 Australasian Fleet Environment Award.