Korean car manufacturer Hyundai signed an agreement with Uber to manufacture eVTOL aircraft.
Hyundai’s S-A1 aircraft is based on an all-electric aircraft design that Uber had shared previously as an open source concept intended to stimulate conversation in the budding eVTOL industry.
Uber cited Hyundai’s track record mass-producing automobiles, including electric vehicles, as an important factor in its decision to partner with the company, the ridesharing firm says on 6 January.
As part of the agreement, Hyundai will build and operate the aircraft, while Uber will provide “airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces,” says Uber. The companies are also working together on eVTOL airport concepts.
“Hyundai is our first vehicle partner with experience of manufacturing passenger cars on a global scale,” says Eric Allison, head of Uber Elevate, the company’s eVTOL initiative. “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.”
Hyundai’s S-A1 is designed to have a cruising speed up to 157kt (290 km/h), a cruising altitude of 1,000ft to 2,000ft, and a range up to 52nm (96.6km).
The aircraft is designed to take off and land vertically, transitioning to flight on its wing for cruise mode.
The S-A1 will have a pilot initially, but Hyundai and Uber plan to transition it to autonomous flight ultimately. The cabin is designed to carry four passengers.