When mentioning HyundaiMost of us think of the automaker. But the Seoul, South Korea-based brand is more than a car company. Today it sees itself as a provider of smart mobility solutions and is making a number of big bets and investments in the future of mobility, from autonomous driving to electrification and urban air mobility (UAM) as a service.
In early 2021, during the Consumer Electronics Show, Hyundai unveiled its S-A1 flying taxi concept, a vertical take-off and landing vehicle (eVTOL), in association with Uber Elevate. And it is that the population increase within the big cities entails an important mobility problem: traffic jams. To solve this, Hyundai is already working on its new urban air mobility project that will put into circulation flying vehicles that are 100% sustainable between now and the next decade.
In late 2020, Hyundai announced its updated roadmap for the company’s future Strategy 2025. This plan focuses on four major areas that will advance, together, towards the achievement of cleaner, safer and more autonomous mobility. The four pillars will be electric vehicles (EV), autonomous driving technology, the hydrogen fuel cell and the ability to take to the skies with safe and capable vehicles. In other words, generalize the “flying car”.
With urban air mobility, Hyundai will offer an innovative mobility experience to its customers beyond conventional two- and four-wheel machines. To support the project, the South Korean company will build a family of air vehicles for passengers and goods and will develop a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system for this new concept. In doing so, Hyundai Motor Company seeks to ensure leadership in urban air mobility technologies and ecosystems.
At the head of this project is Jaiwon shin, an aviation expert at NASA, and the company is expected to play an essential role in the development of this division and in realizing the vision of the Hyundai group in the field of mobility of the future. “We’ve all been living in a two-dimensional world,” Shin says, “but urban air mobility will elevate us to the third dimension above our heads”, A project that will help reduce congestion in cities and improve the quality of life.
Think about it: urbanization, congestion, emissions regulations and an insatiable desire to move from A to B are placing more demands than ever on the city’s transportation systems. Many believe that the industry is headed for a future of multimodal mobility, where various forms of connected transport are used at different stages of the journey: an autonomous taxi picks you up at your door on a rainy morning and takes you to the train station, and after the trip, you ride a scooter to the office.
The idea is to distribute the traveler population in several modes, reducing the pressure on any one mode at the same time and optimizing individual trips in real time. That is why this project, which perfectly demonstrates the mission “Progress for Humanity” (“Progress for Humanity”) of the company, has already begun to take firm steps with the conceptual aerial model S-A1. This one is currently in development around four principles: keep it safe, quiet, affordable, and people-centered.
The company’s plans are to introduce an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with hybrid powertrain in 2026 and launch a fully electric urban aerial vehicle for city operations in 2028. Later, in the 2030s, the company plans to launch a series of regional mobility solutions connecting nearby cities across the sky. These mobility models will have a scalable commercial production approach to cover cities around the world.
And in parallel with the development of these vehicles, Hyundai plans to do the same with a hydrogen propulsion system with the aim of approaching the aviation field based on its own fuel cell technology, which we already find on the streets well. through the Nexo in the form of an SUV, or the Xcient Fuel Cell, which is a truck. This would make it possible to achieve a fairly wide flight range with enormous efficiency and respect for the environment with the advantage of forgetting about land traffic.