Hyundai is partnering with Incheon International Airport Corp., Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. and KT Corp. to accelerate the development of Urban Air Mobility and conduct test flights.
“The breadth and depth of this partnership shows what it will take to build a comprehensive UAM ecosystem to serve megacities like Seoul. Building a robust infrastructure and business model is just as important as developing innovative UAM vehicles. This partnership demonstrates Hyundai’s commitment to facilitating progress for humanity by ushering in a new era of urban air mobility that will revolutionize transportation.” – Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Urban Air Mobility Division at Hyundai Motor
In June 2020, the Korean government announced the Korean UAM Roadmap, outlining steps needed to commercialize UAM. Hyundai Motor and its partners will align with the roadmap that includes the Korean UAM Grand Challenge, the public-private joint demonstration project that provides the basis for jointly studying the construction and operation of vertiports, airports for UAMs. Hyundai’s vision for the commercialization of UAM is ultimately based on three interconnected mobility solutions:
With this smart mobility vision built around the UAM-PBV-Hub network, Hyundai has outlined its commitment to provide customers seamless mobility and a differentiated mobility experience. The vision is also in line with the company’s mid-term innovation plan ‘Strategy 2025’ to shift to its business structures based on two pillars – ‘Smart Mobility Device’ and ‘Smart Mobility Service’. “UAM, PBV, and Hub will revitalize cities by removing urban boundaries, giving people time to pursue their goals, and creating a diverse community,” according to Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group.
Hyundai’s SA-1 concept personal air vehicle (PAV) has been developed in collaboration with Uber Elevate and is designed with cost and noise reduction in mind in order to attract early customers, while also keeping safety as a key focus. The company plans to strengthen its partnerships with global companies like Uber and accelerate its UAM business, including developing world-class PAVs, offering fleet service and maintenance, and developing skyports.
The concept PAV is equipped with eVTOL and designed to seat five people, including a pilot. The PAV will be operated initially by a pilot during the early stages of commercialization and enable autonomous operation once the relevant technologies are developed. Hyundai plans to continue the development of the SA-1 in addition to supplementary models capable of both intercity and intracity transit, which Shin expects to be ready for commercial applications by 2028. The video below captures Hyundai’s plan for integrating its eVTOL in to the UAM-PBV-Hub network with the goal of providing a “Smart Mobility Solution” for Human-Centered Cities:
Meanwhile, the newly established partnership with Incheon International Airport Corp., Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. and KT Corp. will focus on establishing the infrastructure and studying feasibility of utilizing UAM as airport shuttles. Hyundai Construction will utilize its expertise to build vertiports as well as the transit hub that will connect UAM to other public transportations. KT will set up the communications infrastructure and make business cases for UAM as a mobility service. All four parties will be sharing necessary information during the development as well as jointly working on test flights.
Why it’s important: Hyundai benefits from having a global sales network and units that can provide services and assist in the early stages of infrastructure development for an aerial-vehicle ecosystem. Additionally, as an automaker accustomed to manufacturing millions of units per year, Hyundai has a competitive edge over new startups and established aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus.
Image/Content Credit // Hyundai press release