The US-based cab company Uber Technologies Inc. and South Korean automobile company Hyundai partners to design and develop electric flying cars and joins the race to reduce urban congestion.
Although lots of startups are working to develop the technology of flying cars, capable of vertical take-off and landing, they still face lots of technological and regulatory issues. Toyota from Japan Germany’s Daimler and China’s Geely Automobile have been investing in these Startups.
Eric Allison, the head of Uber elevate said that “ We have been making steady progress towards the goal of launching Uber Air by 2023”. He said this at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas. Uber and Hyundai, however, has given two different time periods for release and commercialization.
The Vice Chairman of Hyundai, Euisun Chung said that he expects the commercialization of the air taxi only by 2028 because it takes time for the laws and systems to be in place.
Hyundai, in this project, will produce and deploy the vehicle while Uber will provide all arial ride-sharing services. Other than Hyundai, Uber’s partners in the project include Aurora Flight sciences which are a subsidiary of Boeing. But Hyundai is the first Carmaker to join the team.
Uber has partnered with eight other companies for these projects and said that it will be unrealistic to expect all the partners to be ready for commercialization immediately or at the same time. But they added that “Our plans for our limited commercial operations in 2023 will likely involve other partners”.
Hyundai plans to showcase a model aircraft car which they developed with Uber at the Commercial Electronics Show. The electric car will have a capacity of four passengers along with a pilot and will fly up to 100km/ 60 miles.
The internal components include electric motors, rotating wings, and rotors instead of propellers. Hyundai’s head of Urban Mobility division Shin Jai Won said that “the overall cost of producing and operating Urban Air Mobility should below to make it accessible for common people”.
According to the estimates by Shin who is a former engineer in NASA, the urban flight maker will increase the number of existing commercial aircraft to 25,000.
Boeing has also started working with Volkswagen and Porsche to build commercial electric flying vehicles for urban areas. Hyundai invested 1.8 Trillion Won, last year in a project called Urban Air Mobility in 2025.