Hyundai, Uber announce air taxi partnership at CES 2020
With an aim to develop air taxis, Hyundai and Uber announced an agreement to collaborate, at CES 2020. The companies reportedly said that they hoped to perform the first tests this year and launch the full service in 2023.
“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,” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate. The statement said the air vehicle 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.”
Under the agreement, Hyundai will reportedly be responsible for the manufacture and deployment of the air vehicles, while Uber will provide logistics so that the service can operate, connect drivers - or, in this case, pilots - with passengers and manage the transfer of clients to and from helipads.
The air vehicle designed by Hyundai was unveiled as model S-A1, which will be 100 per cent electric, reach speeds of 290 kilometres per hour (180 miles per hour) and travel distances of up to 100 km - that is, it will specialise in short journeys of less than 30 minutes.
Since July last year, Uber has been running a helicopter service connecting the central New York island of Manhattan with John F Kennedy International Airport that serves the city, charging around $200-225 per trip. The company launched its Uber Copter service through the Uber Elevate division, a branch that was created three years ago to explore the possibilities of shared air transport.
In addition to the air journey, Uber Copter includes a car trip from the client’s home to a helipad in the lower part of the island. The journey, including the transfer to the helipad, takes about 30 minutes, compared to the one or two-hour duration taken to cover the same distance by road, or other means of transport such as trains or the subway. These helicopters with two pilots as crew members can accommodate up to five passengers.
*Edited from an IANS report.