We thought we’d recovered from our new year’s hangover, but alas we appear to still be slightly drunk. Because Hyundai has just announced it’s going to mass produce airborne taxis for Uber and, um, what?
Yep, after upping its game from overtly sensible small cars to riotous hot hatches, Hyundai has taken the next natural step forwards. Flying cabs.
Fully electric flying cabs that take off and land vertically and cruise at 290km/h, no less. Making this S-A1 the fastest Hyundai ever. We’re still hammered, aren’t we?
Apparently not. Both Hyundai and Uber have revealed their plan to work together at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “In this partnership, Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial ride share network,” we’re told.
But that’s not all. “The air vehicle concept Hyundai released today was created in part through Uber’s open design process,” the bumf continues, “a NASA-inspired approach that jump-starts innovation by publicly releasing vehicle design concepts so any company can use them to innovate their air taxi models and engineering technologies.”
So if you’ve been desperately trying to design a 180mph flying taxi for years but have just needed a little inspiration, Hyundai’s only too happy to provide it.
For now, the S-A1 has four seats and one will initially be filled by a pilot, but the plan is it’ll operate autonomously soon enough.
Meanwhile the use of multiple rotors both increases safety (back-ups in case one fails) and reduces noise. Because while the S-A1 is designed to fly trips of up to 60 miles, we suspect it’ll mostly be deployed to get drunkards from one side of a town to another while anyone with sense is sleeping. Better hope there’s sick bags on board.
STORY Stephen Dobie