Hyundai Motor Group has taken another step toward making air mobility a reality by creating a dedicated company to develop and commercialize public air taxis.
Called Supernal, the company will develop a family of electric air vehicles with plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2028. The company will utilize Hyundai’s manufacturing and marketing technology to grow public acceptance of air taxis over the next decade.
Additionally, the company will work to integrate air taxis into existing transit networks to shape an interconnected transportation experience.
How it works is a user would hail an air taxi from an app, like current ridesharing programs, and plan their journey, which could include taking a car or rail to a vertiport, where an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft would ferry a passenger across town.
At CES 2020, Hyundai released a full scale air taxi prototype with Uber that would set the stage for a fleet of rideshare aircraft. Supernal’s first air vehicle will be an electric-powered and autonomous-capable aircraft that will be able to carry four to five passengers on initial urban and urban-adjacent routes.
“We’re developing a commercially viable Advanced Air Mobility product from the start, designing and manufacturing our vehicle to the highest safety, noise, efficiency, and affordability standards,” said Ben Diachun, CTO at Supernal. “Our growing team, which includes veterans of aerospace, automotive, and other deep-tech industries, is engineering sustainable vehicles that have the potential to evolve how we live, work, and play.”
Supernal will leverage technologies, systems and airframe materials including artificial intelligence, autonomous control and electric powertrain to harness Hyundai’s mass production capabilities to scale production for the air taxi fleet. The company is also working with academic partners to expand the reach of research and talent pipeline for these air taxis.