Uber partners with Hyundai on flying taxi plan

Author
Aimee Shaw, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jan 2020, 2:21PM
Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Uber partners with Hyundai on flying taxi plan

Author
Aimee Shaw, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Jan 2020, 2:21PM

Ridesharing giant Uber has partnered with South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Motors to bring its ambition of flying taxis to life.

Hyundai has been announced as the first of multiple manufacturers set to mass-produce flying vehicles for Uber, which it will begin trialling via its Uber Elevate network in Melbourne, Dallas and Los Angeles from 2023.

The car manufacturer was one of a handful of automotive companies to have submitted a design for electric flying aircraft.

Hyundai's aircraft has been designed to have a cruise speed of 290 km/hr and to fly at an altitude of between 1,000-2,000 feet above ground, and to fly short trips of up to 100 km.

The aircraft is designed to take off vertically, and to be piloted. Eventually, it is expected to be autonomous. It will be able to house four passengers, with enough room for a backpack each on board.

Hyundai's flying electric vehicle. Photo / Supplied
Hyundai's flying electric vehicle. Photo / Supplied

Under the partnership with Uber Air, Hyundai will also develop infrastructure to support the take-off and landing of its flying vehicle, Uber announced at the consumer electronics show CES in Las Vegas on Monday.

Hyundai executive vice president and head of its urban air mobility division, Jaiwon Shin, said the car manufacturer's vision was to transform urban transportation with flying vehicles.

"We expect [the aircraft] 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," Shin said in a statement.

"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," Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, said.

"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."