'Liberation From Gridlock': Hyundai And Uber Look To Launch Flying Car
Hyundai is joining the race for flying cars to ease urban congestion.
The South Korean automaker unveiled its electric flying car concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday, announcing it will partner with ride-hailing company Uber to jointly develop electric air taxis.
Hyundai's aircraft is designed to fly on trips of up to 60 miles (100 km) and has a cruising speed of up to 180 miles per hour (290 km per hour).
"We're looking at the dawn of a completely new era that opens the skies above our cities," Jaiwon Shin, Hyundai's Head of Urban Air Mobility, told a packed news conference.
"I like to call this new era an era of 'liberation from gridlock'," he said.
As part of the "aerial ridesharing" partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the flying cars and Uber will provide airspace support services and customer interfaces, the companies said in a news release.
Uber has pledged to begin demonstrator urban flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023 as part of its project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences as one of its partner firms.
Hyundai is the first carmaker to team up with Uber on the project.
"We're not an aircraft manufacturing company and we have no intention of becoming one," Uber Elevate's Eric Allison told the Las Vegas news conference.
"Our ecosystem model is based on collaboration with best-in-class companies like Hyundai who will ultimately manufacture the safe, reliable, high-quality Uber air taxis that we'll deploy on our platform. And that's why we are thrilled to be announcing this partnership today," Allison said.
Plane makers, car manufacturers, and technology firms are jumping into the flying car segment designed to address urban congestion, although significant technological and regulatory hurdles remain to be addressed.