Daniel DiManna
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Hyundai and Uber Announce Plans for Air Taxi System

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Hundai's S-A1 Air Taxi
The future is here … and it’s a flying Hyundai.
Photo: Hyundai

When pondering the possibilities of futuristic technology, one concept that tops many people’s lists is recreational “aeromobility.” Translation: flying cars. It’s an undeniably appealing idea, but even with the many technological advancements we’ve seen in recent years, are we any closer to realizing this science fiction dream?

Well, if Hyundai and Uber have anything to say about it, that dream is about to become a reality in the form of the first air taxi.

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Will the world’s first air taxi be a Hyundai?

The quest to create flying cars is nothing new. In fact, many of the automotive industry’s leading companies have been taking the idea seriously for years. With so many of the world’s finest minds dedicated to bringing the concept to life, it’s only a matter of time before the first of these high-concept flying vehicles finally takes to the skies.

Enter Hyundai, the South Korean car-making company and now — as witnessed at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show — aeronautical engineers. Amid a slew of strange and beautiful concept cars unveiled at the show, Hyundai revealed a striking prototype for what they are calling an “Air Taxi.” Dubbed the S-A1, this electric vehicle sports eight powerful rotors, space for one pilot and four passengers, and can operate for up to 60 miles on a single charge.

Making Hyundai and Uber’s air taxi a reality

Aiding Hyundai in their plans is Uber, which Hyundai formally announced an air taxi partnership. Back in 2017, Uber made headlines by partnering with NASA on the development of flying vehicles. Now, Uber has the might of Hyundai’s manufacturing and marketing on its side.

The two companies announced their intention to develop not just the S-A1 VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) air taxi, but also an ambitious ground-based infrastructure system of Hub Uber stations and special vehicles that will shuttle people back and forth from their flying taxis.

Hyundai Uber Air Taxi Concept Art
Hyundai’s and Uber’s ambitious concept art for an Air Taxi Hub
Photo: Hyundai

According to a report from The Verge, Hyundai and Uber hope to have their air taxi service (literally) off the ground by 2023. The first test flights will be performed by the end of 2020.

Could a futuristic world of flying cars be just around the corner? Only time — and a fair bit of money — will tell.

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