Hyundai has introduced the concept of air taxi, developed in conjunction with Uber Technologies. The vertical take-off model of the aircraft was developed as part of the Uber Elevate program and was presented at CES 2020.
The Uber Elevate program started in 2016, it is dedicated to the development of four-seater aircraft, as well as an extensive network of air taxi with interchange nodes. A variety of companies have been involved in the development of aircraft concepts under this program, including Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell Helicopter and Mooney International. Despite the fact that many concepts have been developed within the Uber Elevate framework, and some companies have even begun to test smaller models, it is not yet clear whether Uber will be able to conduct its first flights in 2020, as previously planned.
At CES 2020, representatives from Hyundai and Uber Technologies showed a new mock-up of electric air taxi and told the details about the S-A1. It is planned to equip Aerotaxi with eight rotors: four for horizontal flight and four for vertical take-off and landing. The aircraft will be able to reach speeds of up to 290 kilometres per hour and will fly at an altitude of 300 to 600 meters.
Hyundai representatives claim that the air taxi will be able to charge in 5-7 minutes, and on one charge the S-A1 will cover a distance of up to 100 kilometres. The four-seater aircraft will be quiet – the declared noise ceiling is 67 decibels at an altitude of 76 meters. Aerotaxi will be manned, but in the future, the developers plan to finalize the aircraft for the possibility of autonomous flights.
In addition to the aircraft itself, representatives of Hyundai and Uber also spoke about the transport concept. It is assumed that an air taxi will land on dedicated runways, which will simultaneously serve as transport hubs. From there, passengers will be transported by unmanned vehicles PBV, which is known only that their design is based on the San Francisco trams.
Uber has other projects involving aircraft. So, this summer Uber Eats and ModalAI conducted tests drone delivery of food in urban environments.