Hyundai has announced details of its five-person Personal Air Vehicle. It has two tilt-rotors on the tail, and 10 other rotors distributed around the egg-shaped cabin.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on January 7, 2020

Hyundai, the South Korean multinational automotive manufacturer, has said its “flying car” will be used for Uber’s promised air taxi network.

Hyundai is revealing a full-scale version its electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7 (local time) and has said it will be the vehicle for Uber Air, which was revealed in June, with plans for Uber Air to operate in Melbourne, Australia, and Dallas and Los Angeles in the US in 2023.

Uber recently announced that it will offer helicopter rides in New York from lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Uber Air Melbourne Photo: Supplied

Hyundai has announced details of its Personal Air Vehicle (PAV). It has two tilt-rotors on the tail, and 10 other rotors distributed around the egg-shaped cabin. The aircraft is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.

The five-person vehicle will have a cruising speed of 180 mph (290 km/h) and a cruising altitude of around 1,000–2,000 feet (300–600 metres) above ground. Hyundai said by using smaller, electric-powered rotors, the vehicle will produce less noise than a combustion engine helicopter, which is sensible for city councils on a noise pollution bandwagon. During peak hours, it will require only about five to seven minutes for recharging. Hyundai added it will have a range of 60 miles (100 kilometres) between charging.

Hyundai also unveiled concepts for a landing hub and an eco-friendly “Purpose Built Vehicle” (PBV) for ground transportation to and from the station. The PBV resembles a beige rectangle and will utilise AI to find optimal routes and travel in platoons, Hyundai said. Each PBV will be able to serve various functions, such as transit, coffee shop, or medical clinic.

Hyundai has yet to conduct any test flights, piloted or otherwise, and has not revealed how much it will cost.

Hyundai is the first car maker to join forces with Uber. Hyundai will produce and deploy the electric aircraft, while Uber will provide airspace support, ground operations, and the app through which customers can book flights.

Uber released images of its own concept aircraft over a year ago, though it said it’s looking for partners that can meet its technology specifications — electric-powered, minimal noise, and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities — as well as a company that can scale production to build tens of thousands of vehicles to meet the demand of on-demand service.

Uber has struck similar arrangements with seven other aerospace companies: Joby, Jaunt, Embraer, Pipistrel, Karem Aircraft, Aurora Flight Sciences, and Bell.

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