Uber and Hyundai release full-scale air taxi model at CES

January 7, 2020  - By
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Hyundai is the first Uber Elevate partner with manufacturing capabilities to mass produce Uber Air Taxis

Uber and Hyundai Motor Company announced at CES 2020 a new partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial ride-share network and unveiled a full-scale aircraft concept. 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.

CES 2020, the massive annual consumer electronics show, is taking place Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas. Hyundai Motor’s innovative smart mobility solutions including UAM, PBV, Hub and more are showcased at Booth 5431 in the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall.

The taxi concept 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 ride-share network. Both parties are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.

The SA-1 air taxi. (Photo: Uber/Hyundai)

The SA-1 air taxi. (Photo: Uber/Hyundai)

“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 vitalize 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.”

“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of 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.

In preparation for this announcement, Hyundai worked with Uber Elevate to develop a PAV (personal air vehicle) model, S-A1, that uses innovative design processes to optimize electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes. S-A1 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 (300 – 600 mt) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km).
  • The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric, utilizing distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
  • 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. 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 Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
  • The cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing riders to board and disembark easily and avoid the middle seat with enough space for a personal bag or backpack.

Ushering in the era of seamless mobility, Hyundai’s exploration of future urban transportation incorporates the electric PAV concept with a new ground transportation, the Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV) concept.

Hyundai’s vision for creating communities from future transit systems comes into focus with yet another new infrastructure concept, called the Hub. When many PBVs and PAVs are docked and connected to a Hub, they make a new public space where diverse groups of people can come together.

Artist's concept: Hyundai

Artist’s concept: Hyundai

 

About the Author:


Tracy Cozzens has served as managing editor of GPS World magazine since 2006, and also is editor of GPS World’s sister website, Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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