I can't wait for this exciting new world of urban mobility.
Uber and Hyundai introduced a flying taxi at CES. It's an electric winged vertical takeoff and landing plane with rotating wings. The flying car is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles/hr (290 km/hr), a cruising altitude of around 1,000-2,000 feet (300 - 600 mt) above ground, and to fly trips up to 60 miles (100 km). It's all electric and carries four people, "designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land." It will eventually be autonomous.
Hyundai’s electric aircraft utilizes distributed electric propulsion, powering multiple rotors and propellers around the airframe to increase safety by decreasing any single point of failure. Having several, smaller rotors also reduces noise relative to large rotor helicopters with combustion engines, which is very important to cities.
But wait, there's more!
It is only one part of a bigger "vision of Urban Air Mobility [that] will transform the concept of urban transportation." It's actually more than just a flying car, it's a system called 'UAM-PBV-Hub'.
So you have this Uber-plane, the PAV which give you UAM or Urban Air Mobility, landing on top of the HUB, which has all of these toaster-shaped pod cars, or "purpose built vehicles" (PBV). This is an interesting concept; why just sit when you are moving when your vehicle can also "accommodate a wide spectrum of future lifestyles with limitless personalization"? From the press release:
It allows passengers to enjoy tailored services while traveling to their destinations, offering a whole new take on the concept of mobility beyond a means of transportation. Upon personalization, PBVs can function as a restaurant, coffee shop, and hotel, or even a clinic and pharmacy, in addition to being an urban shuttle.
"For our smart mobility solutions, we considered what truly matters in cities and in people's lives. UAM, PBV, and Hub will revitalize cities by removing urban boundaries, giving people time to pursue their goals, and creating a diverse community. Our goal is to help build dynamic human-centered future cities and continue our legacy of progress for humanity. CES 2020 is just the start and we will continue to realize this vision," said Euisun Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group.
Working closely together, UAM, PBV and Hub play key roles in vitalizing human-centered future cities and enriching people’s lives. UAM connects the sky and the ground, while PBV links people to people on the road. These two smart mobility solutions connect at the Hub, which will be installed across future cities to form a mobility ecosystem.
"We are looking at the dawn of a completely new era that will open the skies above our cities. Urban Air Mobility will liberate people from grid-lock and reclaim time for people to invest in activities they care about and enjoy,” said Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Urban Air Mobility Division at Hyundai Motor Company.
What a wonderful modern world we live in; I can't wait for 2030, to be flying around San Francisco in electric flying taxis and traveling on the ground in electric rolling coffee shops.