Hyundai and Uber to develop ride-sharing air taxi

Hyundai and Uber ride-sharing taxi

Hyundai and Uber have unveiled a full-scale aircraft concept at CES Las Vegas.

It previews a future ride-sharing taxi – and it could take flight as early as 2023. Demonstrations are expected later this year.

Hyundai will develop, manufacture and deploy the air taxis, with Uber handling the airspace support, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces via a ride-sharing network.

The all-electric S-A1 on show at CES has a cruising speed of 180mph, a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000ft above ground, and can travel up to 60 miles.

During peak hours it will require about five to seven minutes for recharging and is designed for vertical take-off. Although it will be piloted initially, the plan is for the S-A1 to become autonomous.

Inside, there’s seating for four passengers, with room for a personal bag or backpack. Hyundai says it will ‘avoid the dreaded middle seat’.

Uber says a production version could travel at speeds of up to 200mph and that, after several years on the market, a ride in an air taxi will cost the same as an UberX trip of the same distance.

‘Vitalise urban communities’

Hyundai and Uber aerial taxi

Jaiwon Shin, executive vice president and head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division, said: “Our vision of UAM will transform the concept of urban transportation.

“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.”

Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, added: ”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.”


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