Hyundai outlines $1.5 trln high-flying future for electric vehicles

Flying taxis and skyports could become a reality over the next 20 years, according to Shin Jaiwon, Hyundai Motor Group’s executive vice president and head of the newly established Urban Air Mobility division.

Speaking at the fifth Mobility Innovators Forum 2020, held virtually on Oct 29-30 and organized by Hyundai Motor Group, he said the market would be worth $1.5 trillion by 2040.

“Urban air mobility vehicles, such as vertical take-off and landing craft, [will] provide safe, quiet and affordable transportation in the open skies above cities, allowing point-to-point travel that will reduce travel time by two-to-three times by skipping ground congestion,” he said.

“This will allow travellers to fly when they want to, unlike today where travellers have to adjust their lifestyles according to airline schedules,” he added.

Around 200 urban air mobility concepts are already present in the market, supplied by major original equipment manufacturers and start-ups, he said.

“This mirrors the level of interest [in] the early days of aviation 100 years ago,” he said.

Shin said that alongside the growth in land-based electric vehicles (EVs) he expected all-electric urban air vehicles to provide affordable mobility to the masses, while small and large unmanned aerial systems will cater to commercial uses such as transporting goods. Large aircraft will still service long-distance travel.

This would free up facilities and land currently being used for ground transportation and parking facilities to be used for parks, museums and performing centers, he said.

However, Shin conceded that some serious challenges still remained before there could be a large-scale deployment of urban air vehicles.

“Technical challenges such as autonomous flight, affordability and noise remain factors, as well as policy and regulations such as safety standards and certification methods,” he said.

And he added that air traffic management and infrastructure, such as skyports and charging stations, were critical challenges that would need to be addressed.

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