Uber hasn’t quite arrived in Metro Vancouver yet, but that didn’t stop the company from taking the CES 2020 stage to reveal what they’ve been working on.
Last week, Uber and Hyundai announced that they were teaming up to develop an all-electric air taxi that’s set to be part of an “aerial ride-share network.”
The two companies have developed “a PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) model, S-A1, that utilizes innovative design processes to optimize electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes”, the companies said in a joint press release.
Uber Hyundai Air Taxi
Here’s what it looks like:
In addition, Uber and Hyundai said that the air taxi will:
- Be designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles/hr (290 km/hr), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet (300 – 600 mt) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 mile (100 km).
- Be 100% electric, utilizing distributed electric propulsion and during peak hours will require about five to seven minutes for recharging.
- Utilize distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important to cities.
- Take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
- Be piloted initially, but over time they will become autonomous.
- Include a cabin is designed with four passenger seats, allowing riders to board / disembark easily and avoid the dreaded middle seat with enough space for a personal bag or backpack / rider.
With this announcement at CES 2020, Hyundai becomes the first vehicle manufacturer to join the Uber Elevate program, which has a stated goal of introducing commercial air taxis by 2023.
The ride-hailing giant remained confident it would launch operations in Metro Vancouver before 2020, despite the the likelihood of a delay, but has maintained radio silence on the status since the turn of the calendar.
We’ll keep you updated.
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