Uber & Hyundai Team Up to Develop Air Taxis

By Paul Joseph

Last year we reported on news that peer-to-peer app-based taxi service Uber was planning to construct a Skyport in California as a precursor to its flying taxi service, Uber Air.

Now that service looks to be moving to the next level with the announcement that Uber and Hyundai Motor Company are to partner on developing Uber Air Taxis, an aerial ride share network, to accompany its hugely popular road-based service.

To mark the partnership, which is part of the Uber Elevate initiative, the two companies have unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which kicked off this week.

Described as a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, the fully-electric S-A1 concept is designed for a cruising speed up to 180mph, a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile.

The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land. It will be piloted initially, but over time will become autonomous.

“Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation,” says 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.”

The partnership will be structured to allow Hyundai to produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber to provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network.

Last year Uber also trialled an exclusive helicopter service in New York City designed for daily commuters.

By Paul Joseph