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Uber Teams With Hyundai To Develop Electric Air Taxi

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Ride-hailing giant Uber and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co. have formed a partnership to develop electric air taxis for a future aerial ride share network that is intended to ease urban congestion.

The two companies unveiled a new full-scale aircraft concept at the Consumer Electronics Show or CES in Las Vegas.

Uber's air taxi project, Uber Elevate, has previously said it plans to commence flight demonstrations this year and make the service commercially available to riders in 2023.

Hyundai said it worked with Uber Elevate to develop and unveil a Personal Air Vehicle or PAV model, S-A1, that is designed to optimize eVTOL or electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft for aerial ridesharing purposes.

The air vehicle concept was created partly through Uber's open design process.

Hyundai is the first automaker to join the Uber Elevate initiative, bringing automotive-scale manufacturing capability and having a history of mass-producing electric vehicles.

Uber Elevate has also entered into partnerships with Aurora Flight Sciences, which is now a subsidiary of Boeing, Bell, Embraer, Joby Aviation, Pipistrel Aircraft, Karem Aircraft and Jaunt Air Mobility.

Hyundai said that under the partnership with Uber, it will produce and deploy the air vehicles, while Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network.

"Our vision of Urban Air Mobility will transform the concept of urban transportation. We expect UAM to vitalize urban communities and provide more quality time to people," said Jaiwon Shin, Executive Vice President and Head of Hyundai's Urban Air Mobility or UAM Division.

Hyundai said its new model is designed for a cruising speed up to 180 miles per hour, a cruising altitude of around 1,000 to 2,000 feet above ground, and to fly trips of up to 60 miles.

The all-electric vehicle utilizes distributed electric propulsion and will require about five to seven minutes for recharging during peak hours. The cabin has four passenger seats.

The model is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and again transition to vertical flight to land. While the vehicle will initially require a human pilot, it will become autonomous over time, Hyundai said.

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