Hyundai, Uber reveals the concept of S-A1 electric taxis

  • Published By:
  • 8 January 2020

At the 2020 International CES, the jointly developed S-A1 concept was revealed. The four-seat Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) can take off vertically.

Hyundai teamed up with Uber's ride-sharing service to develop a concept for Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) that could be used in the future as an electric flying taxi.

The S-A1 concept, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, is capable of carrying up to four passengers, is capable of vertical take-off and landing and has a cruising speed of 290 km/h at 1,000-2,000 ft above ground level. Hyundai said the devices will be piloted in the beginning, but will eventually be able to become fully independent.

Hyundai will build and manufacture the unit, with Uber's nascent air taxi division offering "air space support services," connections to ground-based transportation options, and customer interface. Hyundai is the first company to join the Uber Elevate program to develop private air transport on a mass scale.

Although at this point the S-A1 is solely a design concept, it is intended to be capable of trips of up to 100 km and to be recharged at peak times in 5-7min. It will be propelled by multiple small propellers placed around the frame; Hyundai says that this layout reduces noise compared to a large helicopter rotor and also helps to minimize the impact of any single failure point.

As part of a broader "dream for urban mobility," Hyundai unveiled the S-A1 at CES, proposing possible transport options for cities in the future. Hyundai also presented another concept under this "view for urban mobility"–a Purpose Built Vehicle (PBV), an electric autonomous shuttle-style vehicle inspired by San Francisco's cable cars, says Hyundai.

The PBV is built with a separate frame and upper bodies, which can be around 4-6 m long, allowing the interior to be tailored for different purposes.

Examples of Hyundai's potential applications include the use of a restaurant, coffee shop and hotel, with the services available as users are taken to their destinations. It could also be used as a living space and customized to individual needs.

Hyundai claims that other PBVs that can act as battery packs will charge the PBV while in operation. In Hyundai's proposed mobility system, the PAV and PBV concepts are linked by a Hub, a new' mobility space' with a' skyport' for the PAV at the top, and PBV docking stations below. Hyundai assumes that the Hubs can also act as multifunctional spaces for the city.

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