The airplane developed by Hyundai is a pretty imposing sight live and bigger than we would imagine an air taxi.
One of the defining themes of the 2020s will undoubtedly be air taxis, as in recent years countless smaller (e.g. Lilium) and larger (Airbus, Boeing) companies have started to develop their own vehicles. While the much-mentioned term “flying car” doesn’t hold up to these devices as they don’t ride on wheels, it doesn’t make it any less futuristic when these weird airplane-helicopter hybrids flood the sky in a few years.
The latest connector is Hyundai, who have produced a fairly strong ticket as they not only unveiled a prototype of their own air taxi at CES, but also announced that Uber will operate them. Considering what the travel-sharing company has done in the traditional taxi market, there’s no doubt that with that, Hyundai’s air taxi will immediately emerge from the crowded field as one of the most promising aspirants.
And what is an as-yet-unnamed plane like? Large. The life-size prototype on display at CES is roughly the size of a helicopter, 11 meters long, but somehow still makes an impressive impression due to its 15-meter wingspan and countless rotors.
As the huge propellers, each 3.2 feet in diameter, spun with dignity over our heads, we had no doubt that the iron would remain in the air even if one or two of them broke down. The thought was all the more frightening as the rotors rotated at full speed over our heads because, as you can see in the pictures, the lowest propellers were located directly above the cab. It is also clear that, due to its unusual size, Hyundai’s aircraft was not designed to be used instead of a car – not only in a garage roof, but also in a small garden, it would require specially built air taxi stations, whose plans have already been presented by Uber.
The air taxi has 2×3 propellers anyway, three are for take-off only, and three can be tilted, so they drive the plane in the air. Plenty of rotors are also needed, as Hyundai’s air taxi is more than three tonnes, which is heavier than an average car. The capacity is also roughly comparable to a passenger car, with a total of four passengers in addition to the pilot.
Staying on the technical side: the factory data show that the machine has a top speed of 290 km / h, but a normal speed of 240 km / h and can cover up to a hundred kilometers. So for urban transport, it can be more than perfect, but aircraft and helicopter manufacturers don’t have to worry about Hyundai losing their markets for the time being. However, it is undoubtedly much more suitable for urban use than any aircraft technology today, if only because, thanks to the all-electric drive, Hyundai says the aircraft has a noise load of only 55 decibels when it flies over us, which is quieter than an air conditioner.