Air Mobility Sector to Change: Hyundai-Uber Join to Produce Air Taxi
As urban cities are becoming overburdened with road infrastructure, vehicle manufacturers are extending their focus to the air mobility space. With at least 60 companies worldwide working on creating passenger urban air mobility vehicles, air taxi seems to be taking the centre stage soon.
Companies investing heavily in the air taxi sector, like Uber, Porsche and Boeing are working on ways to improve their safety features and affordability. Recently, US based Uber Technologies and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motors announced plans to create electric air taxis in order to ease the urban congestion.
In a joint statement released, the two companies said, “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.”
Former NASA engineer, Dr Jaiwon Shin, now working for Hyundai Motors claims that the air mobility industry believes – once the everyday flight market matures completely, it will exceed the current number of commercial airplanes flying around the world (about 25,000). In 2019, Hyundai promised to invest 1.8 trillion (US$1.5 billion) on air vehicles, by 2025.
At the presentation, Executive Vice Chairman Euisun Chung said that Hyundai will continue to collaborate with industry leaders on future projects. Even though several technological glitches are there, car makers and tech firms are working on commercialising air taxis.
As per the Head of Uber Elevate, Uber’s aerial division, Eric Allison, “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.”
In June 2019, officials from Greentech festival in Germany, expected aircraft manufacturer – Volocopter to be commercialised in places like Singapore, Germany and Dubai by the end of 2020. In agreement with Volocopter, Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced plans to launch the first air taxi, with the capacity of two passengers.
Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Mattar Al Tayer said, “The test run of the first Autonomous Air Taxi capable of carrying two passengers is in implementation of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city worldwide.” With move like these, one can clearly see Dubai working towards achieving its idea of a smart city.
New in the air mobility industry, Uber and Hyundai’s partnership is sure to witness tough competition from Volocopter, who has already completed 1000+ test flights. Sources claim that the aircraft manufacturer is working with regulatory authorities and private companies in order to get its multicopter off the ground.
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