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U.S. ride-hailing giant Uber and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Company have announced a new partnership aimed at making flying electric taxis. The team unveiled a new full-scale concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
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Urban air mobility
“Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation,” said in a statement 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.”
In this new partnership, Hyundai will be responsible for producing and deploying the air vehicles while Uber will provide an aerial ride-share network. Take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles will be tackled by both firms collaboratively.
Building Uber Air vehicles
“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,” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.
Hyundai’s 100% electric S-A1 model unveiled at CES is designed for a cruising speed up to 290 km/hr and a cruising altitude of around 300-600 mt above ground. During peak hours, it will require a mere five to seven minutes for recharging.
The Hyundai vehicles are set to become autonomous over time and their cabins are designed to accommodate four people. Finally, Hyundai’s electric aircraft power multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety and reduce noise.