Urban Air Mobility System to be up and running by 2028.
Hyundai is making waves with its Ioniq 5, but advanced technology in South Korea is going further than something as boring as electric vehicles. The automaker is partnering with South Korea's capital city, Seoul, to build the world's first air-based urban ecosystem. Think of it as Uber, but with the ability to go vertically. According to Hyundai, it will be operational by 2028.
The idea was first presented at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). At the time Hyundai presented an overall concept for how it would work. Hyundai's Urban Air Mobility (UAM) system consists of three main parts: the S-Link, Hub, and electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle.
The S-Link replaces the concept of commuting as we know it. It's basically an autonomous box that transports you from the office to the Hub. The Hub, or Vertiports, will be the starting point, and the more long-term projects will stem from them.
Seoul is the first city to agree to having such a hub, but Hyundai is in talks with the state of Los Angeles, and the UK. There are also plans to establish a subsidiary for the UAM business in Washington DC. In Seoul, the Vertiport will be built at the Gimpo International Airport and will operate in a radius of between 18 to 43 miles. Since Seoul has a radius of roughly nine miles, it should be sufficient.
We've seen talk about flying cars before, and for the most part, none of these vehicles have made it past the concept phase. But Hyundai is serious about making it work because it hired Dr. Shin Jai-won, poaching him from NASA in 2019 to run the UAM business.
As for the air taxi itself, Hyundai's original idea was to team up with Uber Elevate. Since CES 2020, there have been no more announcements about this partnership, but given recent events, it's unlikely to happen. Uber Elevate recently announced that it would be partnering with Joby Aviation, which is also working on a sky taxi.
The closest thing to the real deal is the Archer Aviation sky-taxi called Maker. This unique two-seat electric eVTOL was unveiled recently, and will now begin its testing phase. It comes with an impressive set of figures, including a 150-mph top speed, a 60-mile range, and a noise level of just 45 decibels during operation. Hyundai has a lot of work to do, but with 37 manufacturing facilities in ten countries, impressive advancements in fuel cell tech, and as part owner of a robotics company, we think it has a good a chance as any. The future is arriving soon, and it's arriving by air.