Cleared for takeoff: Hyundai-Uber partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for the future
Announced at the recently held Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hyundai and Uber are working on a new full-scale aircraft concept that will be used by the Uber Elevated Network and function as Air Taxis.
Hyundai is the first company to join the Uber Elevate initiative and they bring their expertise in manufacturing to the table.
In addition to that, Hyundai’s track record of mass-producing electric vehicles like the Hyundai Kona is also a big plus point.
The Air Taxi concept was created by Hyundai using Uber’s open design process that follows a NASA-inspired approach of jumpstarting innovation by publicly releasing vehicle designs so that companies that further tweak and develop them while bringing their own expertise into play.
It helps speed up the concept stage development process and will help drive the change faster.
The carmaker will produce and deploy the air taxis under their Urban Air Mobility Division, while Uber will provide airspace and support services as well as connections to ground transportation for a seamless customer experience.
Both brands are jointly working on the infrastructure requirements as well as the support required for take-off and landing for these sci-fi inspired vehicles.
What you see here is the Personal Air Vehicle model S-A1. It is an all-electric aerial transport vehicle that comes with vertical take-off and landing, however, it will transit to wing-borne lift in cruise.
Further to that, the S-A1 boats of a cruising speed up to 290 kmph and has a cruising altitude of 1,00-2,000 feet above the ground. It has a 100-kilometre trip range at present and will take about 5-7 minutes for the batteries to recharge.
The Hyundai electric aircraft uses a distributed electric propulsion system that powers multiple rotors around the airframe in order to increase safety as well as lowering the risk of flight failure.
The design also reduces noise as compared to larger rotor driver machines like helicopters.
The silent nature is important for a vehicle that will do duty in urban areas and that was a key focus area for both Hyundai and Uber to achieve.
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.
Currently, the model has been designed to be piloted, however, it will become autonomous in the future.
It can carry four passengers and has enough space for a personal bag or backpack per passenger as well.
Uber Elevate Services will become a reality by 2023.
— Vikram Gour