On Tuesday, Uber Technologies Inc and Hyundai Motor stated, they plan on a joint development of electric air taxis, as they push further to ease the menace of urban congestion.
Hyundai is set to unveil its concept electric aircraft which it developed with Uber, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The model has been designed to carry up to four passengers with a pilot and will have a range up to 60 miles (100 km).
Uber has pledged to begin demonstrator urban flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023 as part of its project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences as one of its partnering firms.
Hyundai is the first carmaker to team up with Uber on the project.
“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,” said both companies in a joint statement.
“The overall cost to produce and operate UAM (urban air mobility) vehicles should be really low enough for everyone to enjoy the freedom to fly,” said Shin Jai-won, Executive Vice President and Head of Urban Air Mobility Division at Hyundai Motor, at a CES presentation.
Hyundai had hired Shin, a former NASA engineer, in 2019. Shin said, the “mobility industry believes that once the everyday flight market matures fully, it will exceed the current number of commercial airplanes flying around the world, which is around 25,000.
In 2019, Hyundai had pledged to invest $1.5 billion (1.8 trillion won) in what it called “urban air mobility” by 2025.
At the presentation, Hyundai’s Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung said, Hyundai will continue to collaborate with industry leaders on future projects.
Despite significant regulatory hurdles surrounding the flying car segment, plane makers, technology firms, and carmakers are jumping in droves into the segment. In October 2019, Boeing had said it was working with Volkswagen’s Porsche to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban areas.