Uber and Hyundai have announced a new partnership to develop electric Uber Air Taxis and unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the CES
Uber and Hyundai Motor Company have announced a new partnership to develop electric Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial ride share network and unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
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. The air vehicle concept Hyundai released was created in part through Uber’s open design process, a NASA-inspired approach that jump-starts innovation by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.
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.
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 ride-sharing purposes. The Elevate initiative based this process on NASA’s historical approach of putting design concepts out publicly to inspire innovation amongst multiple companies, spurring the development of common research models to investigate novel aerodynamic concepts and catalysing industry progress in wing design, noise, aerodynamics, and simulation verification.
“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.”
As a result, Hyundai’s S-A1 model unveiled at CES reflects previous eVTOL designs Uber Elevate has released in the following ways:
● It is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles/hr (290 km/hr), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet above the ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km).
● The Hyundai vehicle will be 100 percent 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.
“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience in manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. 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. 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,” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.