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[CES2024] Hyundai unveils eVTOL product concept for urban air transport services

By Park Sae-jin Posted : January 10, 2024, 11:05 Updated : January 10, 2024, 11:05
Courtesy of Hyundai Motor
[Courtesy of Hyundai Motor]

LAS VEGAS -- In a bid to take the leading position in the global market for urban air mobility, also known as the urban aerial transport service or air taxi service, Hyundai's American subsidiary has unveiled a product concept for an electric vertical take-off and landing vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show, the world's biggest annual electronics exhibition held in Las Vegas.

The global urban air mobility (UAM) market is projected to stand at $28.5 billion with an average annual growth rate of 33.5 percent in 2030, according to Markets and Markets, a global market research firm. While UAM is considered one of many effective solutions that would help people evade heavy urban traffic jams and also ease human congestion in public transport systems including subway trains and buses, the UAM industry faces key challenges such as regulatory hurdles and concerns that hinder commercialization.

South Korea launched a public-private consultative body called "Urban Air Mobility Team Korea" in June 2020 to commercialize drone taxis in 2025 after the government released a roadmap including the enactment of a special law that would introduce a new urban ecosystem covering personal aerial vehicles ahead of other countries. South Korea's UAM dream team includes Hyundai Motor, Hanwha Systems, Korean Air, SK Telecom, and Doosan Mobility Innovation. In October 2020, Hyundai introduced a roadmap for an autonomous air cargo system that would be commercialized in 2026.

Supernal, the United States-based advanced air mobility (AAM) developer wing of Hyundai auto group, unveiled "S-A2," an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle product concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 on January 9 (local time). The UAM vehicle is scheduled for commercialization by 2028. The first concept for S-A2 was first revealed in 2020 at the CES 2020.

Supernal's CEO Shin Jai-won predicted that Hyundai's AAM solution will not become a competitor to on-ground vehicles, but will find its position as a backup solution which people would find AAM services time-efficient and comfortable once they get to use them for the first time. The AAM company CEO also speculated that the first customers of urban flying transport services would be those with high incomes, referring to the history of the commercialization of aviation services: "In the beginning, early adopters or people who enjoy adventure would start to use AAM services."

Supernal's eVTOL features a multi-level safety system for key components such as the eVTOL's rotors, the battery, power distribution system, and flight control system. The electricity consumption efficiency was maximized through the separate operation of rotors. An S-A2 vehicle would be priced at around $3 million, according to the eVTOL maker.

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