Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, which is aimed at working toward "transforming the world through aerial ridesharing at scale." The Korean automaker brings automotive-scale manufacturing capability and a track record of mass-producing electric vehicles to the project.
In the partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy 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.
The vehicle concept itself - the PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model S-A1 - utilizes innovative design processes to optimize electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes. It was created in part by Hyundai 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.
The S-A1 offers the following features:
- It 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 m) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km).
- The Hyundai vehicle will be 100% electric, utilizing distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
- Hyundai's electric aircraft utilizes distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure.
- Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important to cities.
- The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
- The Hyundai vehicle will be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
- The cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing