Hyundai confident on flying cars, steps up plans for full lineup

Hyundai is planning a full lineup of aerial vehicles

The company envisages it will take to city skies within a decade


Hyundai Motor Group is developing models that will carry five or six people within metropolitan areas and a bigger version to fly between cities, Jaiwon Shin, head of its urban air mobility unit, said in an interview. The company expects to enter the market in 2028, he said.

“People who are always stuck in traffic on the road will realize how convenient it is to move via aerial vehicles,” said Shin. “That is when we will see demand explode.”

Unfazed by regulatory and safety hurdles, a slew of planemakers, automakers and startups are seeking to disrupt the transport industry with flying cars and parcel-hauling drones. Morgan Stanley analysts, in their most bullish estimates, predict such technology could lead to a $2.9 trillion industry by 2040 — and even their most pessimistic view pegs the value at $615 billion.

Hyundai showcased its flying-car concept, developed with Uber Technologies at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early this year. The company sees pilots from service providers such as Uber initially flying the vehicles, before they become autonomous around 2035.


credits: Hyundai News


Over the coming years, the industry and regulators need to tackle questions such as what kind of a pilot license is required and how to eliminate or minimize the probability of accidents. New rules and infrastructure are required to ensure the vehicles do not interfere with plane and helicopter traffic.

Shin said some flying cars may debut as early as 2023, but Hyundai is targeting 2028, when more infrastructure has been built and public awareness is higher. To attract early customers, Hyundai is trying to reduce the vehicles’ cost and noise level, while keeping safety as a key focus, he said.

Besides people carriers, Hyundai is working on a variant meant for hauling goods, with a capacity of as much as 300 kilos (660 pounds), Shin said. The company has not decided where to build or first introduce its aerial vehicles.

Airbus SE, Boeing and startups such as Lilium are among the competition.

Vahana, the self-piloting air taxi developed by A3, Airbus’s tech-centric Silicon Valley outpost, completed its first test flight in 2018 and Boeing’s prototype made its maiden flight in January last year.

Flying cars are taking a giant step forward all over the world

XPeng, a Chinese electric-car maker, last month unveiled a prototype that can carry two people and levitate at up to 25 meters.

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