Supernal Debuts Second Version of Advanced Air Mobility at 2024 CES

January 10th, 2024 by


If battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are still making consumers wary, just wait for the next big thing in the auto industry. It’s not self-driving vehicles and it’s not automobiles that run on software (software-defined vehicles). No, it’s personal urban aircraft. We haven’t heard much from Kia or its parent group Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) about its Supernal company and the eVOTL aircraft, but that’s about to change with the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Supernal LLC unveiled its S-A2 model during the show.

The initial debut was in 2020 during the 2020 CES with the Supernal S-A1 urban aircraft. Looking a lot more like a hybrid between a plane and a helicopter, the design for the Supernal aircraft has changed over the years. These days, the cockpit and cabin are starting to look a lot more like the interior of a vehicle and less like the cockpit in actual airplanes. Moreover, said to be able to perform electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL), the aircraft seems to be more akin to a jet that has enough power in its thrusters to hover before flying off versus a commercial airline that needs a whole runway to get airborne. That should definitely help keep prices down for extra-long driveways.

Hold it! We don’t see regular everyday people getting behind the wheel of urban aircrafts any time soon. Sure, there are plenty of startups out there working on aircraft, but like HMG, they will need to go through another platform to make it a thing. HMG is working with Uber last we checked to bring the Supernal company to life. That means, if a civilian wants to take an aircraft to work, they will still have to hail one via a ride-hailing app. So, don’t worry, just yet. We won’t have irresponsible pilots causing any problems anytime soon.

“From the beginning, Supernal has been on a mission to create the right product and the right market at the right time…The unveiling of S-A2 demonstrates our unwavering commitment to deliver on that mission with a safe, efficient vehicle design that provides a clear path to market entry. By leveraging our talented 600-person team, the vast technical and business capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and trusted aviation suppliers around the world, Supernal is ready to deliver a new era of flight.” – Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal

Like we said, on the outside, the S-A2 looks a lot more like the interior of a vehicle on the bottom half. The top half is where things start to look more like an aircraft with a total of eight propellers – two for liftoff and touchdown (and probably to stay airborne), and four for forward propulsion. Designed to create the preferred Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) passenger experience, pilots and passengers will have their own distinct places to sit with different color palettes and materials throughout the cabin. To keep everything as sturdy as can be, aviation-grade, energy-absorbing components are integrated into the seat frames – hopefully, they’re more comfortable than what we get in commercial flights today.

Able to 120 miles-per-hour at a 1,500-foot altitude, the S-A2 is keeping on-ground transportation in mind and city-life operation. Initially, if the S-A2 is put into production and people can start hailing aircraft, 25- to 40-mile trips will be the first we see before pilots are licensed for national travel. Eventually, it will be engineered to achieve global commercial aviation. That will come down to HMG – keeping quality while also being cost-effective, the aircraft will be manufactured via Hyundai for mass production capability. Right now, they’re optimizing the vehicle to receive certification before mass production and expansion can begin.

24 years ago, people were saying “Where are my flying cars?” It might be 30 years late (we don’t see these aircraft taking off until the end of the decade), but thanks to HMG and Uber, flying cars might finally be here. Stay up to date with HMG, Supernal, and other news about Kia when you follow us on Miami Lakes Automall social media.

Photo Source/Copyright: Kia Media
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