Uber and Hyundai announce aerial ridesharing platform

International | South East | Technology | Transport & Distribution

Uber and Hyundai Motor Company have today announced a new partnership to develop Uber Air Taxis for a future aerial rideshare network and unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020.

Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capability and a track record of mass-producing electric vehicles.

The air vehicle concept Hyundai released today was created in part through Uber’s open design process, a NASA-inspired approach that jump-starts innovation by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.

In this partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network. Both parties are collaborating on infrastructure concepts to support take-off and landing for this new class of vehicles.

Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division said: “Our vision of Urban Air Mobility 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 said: “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.”

The vehicle itself is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles/hr (290 km/hr), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet (300 – 600 mt) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km). It will be 100% electric, utilising distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.

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