Uber announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it has partnered with Hyundai Motor Company to develop the Uber Air Taxis that will make up the aerial ride share service of the near future.
Hyundai, an automotive company, has been tasked with producing and deploying the air vehicles.
Uber chose Hyundai – which many though a strange choice being a motor company – because it had the experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale.
The air vehicle concept revealed at CES was part of Uber’s open design process.
Hyundai has worked with Uber Elevate to develop the PAV (passenger aerial vehicle) model S-A1 that can take off and land vertically for ridesharing purposes.
“Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation,” said 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 Hyundai S-A1 unveiled at CES is designed to have a cruising speed up to 290km/h at a cruising altitude of up to 600m with up to 100km range.
The vehicle will be 100 per cent electric and will require only five to seven minutes for recharging.
The cabin can fit four passengers and will be piloted at the start of the program with a view to be completely autonomous in the years ahead.
“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale,” said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.
“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.”
* Stephen Fenech traveled to Las Vegas with support from LG, Samsung and Hisense