Hyundai has teamed up with ride-sharing service Uber to develop a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) concept that could be used as an electric flying taxi in the future.
The S-A1 concept, unveiled at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, can carry up to four passengers, is capable of vertical take-off and landing and has a cruising speed of 290kph at an altitude of 1,000-2,000ft above ground. Hyundai said the machines will initially be piloted but will eventually be capable of becoming fully autonomous.
The machine will be developed and produced by Hyundai, with Uber’s nascent air taxi division providing “airspace support services,” links to ground-based transport options, and customer interface. Hyundai is the first firm to join the Uber Elevate initiative to develop mass-scale private air transport.
While purely a design concept at this stage, the S-A1 is intended to be capable of trips of up to 100km and capable of being recharged in 5-7min at peak times. It will be propelled by multiple small propellers positioned around the frame; Hyundai says this layout reduces noise compared to a large helicopter rotor and also aids safety by minimising the impact of any single point of failure.
Hyundai presented the S-A1 at CES as part of a wider "vision for urban mobility," showcasing potential transport solutions for cities in the future.
Under this "vision for urban mobility," Hyundai also showcased another concept – a Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV), which is an electric autonomous shuttle-style vehicle that Hyundai says has been inspired by San Francisco's cable cars.
The PBV, which can be around 4-6m long, is conceived with a separate chassis and upper bodies, allowing the interior to be customised for various purposes.
Examples of potential applications given by Hyundai include use by a restaurant, coffee shop and hotel, with those services available as users are taken to their destinations. It could also be customised to individual needs and used as a living space.
Hyundai says the PBV can be charged while in use by other PBVs that can function as battery packs.
The PAV and PBV concepts are linked in Hyundai’s proposed mobility system by a Hub, a new ‘mobility space’ that has a ‘skyport’ for the PAV on top, with PBV docking stations underneath. Hyundai believes the Hubs can also serve as multi-functional community spaces.