Yes, this is real.
We weren't joking when we said Hyundai wanted to build a flying car. Introduced at CES 2020, the Personal Aerial Vehicle, or PAV, has been developed by Hyundai's Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division to be used as an air taxi for Uber Elevate. Hyundai is the first automotive company to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capacity and a proven track record of building mass-produced electric vehicles.
"Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation," said Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai's Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Division. "We expect UAM to vitalize urban communities and provide more quality time to people. We are confident that Uber Elevate is the right partner to make this innovative product readily available to as many customers as possible."
In this partnership, Hyundai will build and deploy this new PAV while Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces. Both companies are working to build areas where the PAVs can take off, like the "Hub" pictured in the concept drawings.
"Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale. 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. Combining Hyundai's manufacturing muscle with Uber's technology platform represents a giant leap forward for launching a vibrant air taxi network in the coming years," said Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate.
At CES, Hyundai showed off its first PAV called the S-A1. The S-A1 utilizes electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL), which will make it perfect for ridesharing. Hyundai says the S-A1 was designed for trips of around 60 miles with a cruising speed up to 180 miles per hour and cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet above the ground. Even though it was designed by an automotive manufacturer, don't expect to see any Hyundai Palisade design cues on this flying taxi.
Hyundai says the cabin can fit four-passenger seats with enough space for a personal item, without the need for a middle seat. The model shown here has a pilot seat but future models will reportedly be autonomous. Sadly, the example shown at CES was only a scale model, so it is hard to get an idea for how big the real one will be. Uber has announced its goal of performing flight demonstrations in 2020 and it says Elevate will be commercially available to riders in 2023.