Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxi service

An S-A1 model aircraft of the Hyundai and Uber Elevate urban air taxi concept being displayed at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday. The aircraft utilises "distributed electric propulsion", designed with multip
An S-A1 model aircraft of the Hyundai and Uber Elevate urban air taxi concept being displayed at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday. The aircraft utilises "distributed electric propulsion", designed with multiple rotors that can keep it in the air if one of them fails.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LAS VEGAS • Hyundai announced on Monday that it would mass produce flying cars for Uber's aerial ride-sharing network set to be deployed in 2023.

The South Korean manufacturer said it would produce the four-passenger electric "vertical take-off and landing vehicles" at "automotive scale", without offering details.

The deal announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas could help Uber, which is working with other aircraft manufacturers, to achieve its goal of deploying an air taxi service in a handful of cities by 2023.

Dr Jaiwon Shin, head of Hyundai's urban air mobility division, said he expects the large-scale manufacturing to keep costs affordable for the aerial systems.

"We know how to mass produce high-quality vehicles," he told a news conference at CES.

He said he expected the partnership to allow for the short-range air taxis to be "affordable for everyone".

Dr Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, appeared at the CES event with Hyundai to discuss the partnership.

"By taking transportation out of the two-dimensional grid on the ground and moving it into the sky, we can offer significant time savings to our riders," he said.

He said that because of its other app-based transport options, "only Uber can seamlessly connect riders from cars, trains and even bikes to aircraft".

 
 
 

Uber has announced it had selected Melbourne to join Dallas and Los Angeles in becoming the first cities to offer Uber Air flights, with the goal of beginning demonstrator flights this year and commercial operations in 2023.

Hyundai is using CES to show the S-A1 model aircraft with a cruising speed of up to 290kmh.

The aircraft utilises "distributed electric propulsion", designed with multiple rotors that can keep it in the air if one of them fails.

The smaller rotors also help reduce noise, which the companies said is important to cities.

The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially but over time will become autonomous, the company said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 08, 2020, with the headline 'Hyundai to make flying cars for Uber air taxi service'. Print Edition | Subscribe