South Korea’s largest carmaker, Hyundai, plans to build flying cars with a full range of aircraft that it promises in the sky over a maximum of a decade.
Hyundai Motor Group is developing models that will transport five or six people to metropolitan areas and a larger 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 with these models in 2028.
“People who are always stuck in traffic on the road will realize how convenient it is to travel by air,” Shin said. “Then we will see that there will be an explosion of demands.”
What new vehicles does Hyundai want to reach the market with?
Hyundai introduced its flying machine concept, developed with Uber Technologies Inc. at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.
The company plans that, at the initial level, these vehicles that will fly through the sky will be driven by specialized pilots from service providers such as Uber, before the vehicles become autonomous in 2035, according to Hyundai specialists.
In the coming years, industry and regulators need to address questions such as what kind of pilot license is required and how to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of accidents.
New rules and infrastructure are needed to ensure that vehicles do not interfere with aircraft and helicopter traffic.
Shin said some flying cars could start as early as 2023, but Hyundai is moving closer to 2028, when infrastructure will be created and public awareness will be higher.
To attract early customers, Hyundai promises a reduction in vehicle costs and noise levels, while maintaining safety as a key point.
In addition to passenger carriers, Hyundai is working on a freight variant with a capacity of up to 300 kilograms, Shin said. The company has not decided where to build or introduce its aircraft first.
Many manufacturers are beginning to explore the idea of flying cars
Without being disturbed by regulatory and safety barriers, a lot of aircraft manufacturers, car manufacturers and new companies are trying to supplement the transport industry with flying cars or drones carrying parcels.
Morgan Stanley analysts predict that such technology could lead to a $ 2.9 trillion industry by 2040 – and even their most pessimistic view puts the value at $ 615 billion.
Airbus SE, Boeing Co. and startups like Lilium are part of the competition. Vahana, the self-piloted air taxi developed by A3, the technology-focused Silicon Valley outpost Airbus, completed its first test flight in 2018, and the Boeing prototype made its first flight in January last year.
XPeng Inc., a Chinese electric car manufacturer, last month unveiled a prototype that can carry two people and levitate up to 25 meters.
“We do not want to be the first on the market. We want to be the first to have the right product. ”
However, Hyundai benefits from having a global sales network and units that can provide services and help build infrastructure for an aircraft ecosystem, Shin said. The group’s activities include car manufacturing, car parts, construction and logistics.
“Having all these resources available will help us open up markets,” Shin said. “We are different from other developers who only look at one aspect of the business.”
That’s because carmakers have an advantage over aircraftmakers because of their expertise in mass production, according to Shin.
Under normal circumstances, Airbus and Boeing each deliver less than 1,000 aircraft a year, while carmakers can produce millions.
Aircraft production is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of units, according to Hyundai estimates.