Wow, the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show is underway and automakers are blowing us away with some of the amazing technology they’re presenting. Although the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is more so focused on personal electronic devices, it’s also an exhibition of technology, and what better way for automakers to share new technologies and integration by joining CES 2020? The Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors are definitely sharing the biggest surprise. The two have just joined Uber in their mission to design and produce air taxis.
Tell us if you heard this joke. Uber riders may one day become airborne. If that’s true, they’ll call it a Hyun-day. Get it? Hyun-day – Hyundai? You get it.
The Hyundai Motor Group is the first automobile group to join Uber in designing and producing air taxis that the everyday consumer can hail, just like people do every day with Uber and Lyft already. Except instead of driving through busy streets and dealing with traffic, we have lift off. Unlike regular airplanes that need a runway to gain speed and take flight, these air taxis will be electric, able to rise into the air from a standstill, powered by several propellers. The two will be creating a new network of personal transportation that no longer relies on the schedule of airlines or finding a licensed pilot.
There are some pretty impressive specs already. This air taxi will be able to fly distances of up to 60 miles at 180 mph. That’s an hour-long drive in about 20 minutes. Just like most personal transportation vehicles today, the air taxi will be able to hold up to four people, plus the pilot. Depending on how well things go, we may not have to wait too long. Uber claims that the airtaxi network will launch by 2023, but the Hyundai Motor Group is thinking closer to 2030.
Hyundai, Kia, and Uber aren’t alone of course. Daimler (Germany), Toyota (Japan), and many other startups like Lilium, Airbus, Zunum Aero, Skai, and Blackfly are all in this race to make personal aircrafts a reality. All this shortly after the Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors opened the MoceanLab. Dedicated to a vision of a global autonomous driving ecosystem, MoceanLab (Motion Lab), is already working on a self-driving car sharing program but the end goal is to make it so that anyone anywhere has access to some form of transportation be it autonomous ridesharing, shuttling, multimodal transportation, or personal mobility.
Such technology and services are currently under review but they’re popping up more and more. Some day soon, anyone with a smartphone will be able to download an app and hail any kind of transportation that fits their needs. During CES 2020, the Hyundai Motor Group shared an interesting video showcasing the end goal of MoceanLab. In this video, we can see examples of the air taxi in flight and a smart mobility ecosystem filled with autonomous vehicles and buses that drive people from location to location, and even interconnected hubs that can serve anywhere from a personal gym to a resort. Anything is possible when you can go anywhere at any time.
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