One of the biggest ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor have teamed up to develop electric air taxis, joining the global race to make small self-flying cars to ease urban congestion.
Global players like Germany’s Daimler, China’s Geely Automobile and Japan’s Toyota have all unveiled investments in startups that aim to deploy electric flying cars capable of vertical takeoff and landing. But there are big technological and regulatory hurdles to the plans, Reuters reported.
Uber and Hyundai, for instance, gave widely different timelines for commercialization, underlining these, Hyundai is the first carmaker to join Uber’s air taxi project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences among its partner firms.
Hyundai will produce and deploy the vehicles while Uber will provide aerial ride-share services.
According to Reuters, Hyundai will unveil a concept electric aircraft developed with Uber at CES, with the self-flying electric car designed to carry up to four passengers with a pilot and fly on trips of up to 60 miles (100 km). Air taxis come in several shapes and sizes electric motors replace jet engines, and aircraft have rotating wings and, in some cases, rotors in place of propellers.
Boeing has said it is working with Volkswagen’s sports car brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle that can transport people in urban areas.