Hyundai is aiming to put flying taxis into the air sooner than expected. An executive from the automaker now believes the first flying taxis could lift off as soon as 2025, Reuters reported Monday.
The automaker previously mentioned 2028 as the target date for launching a flying-taxi service, using small battery-electric aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). But Jose Munoz, Hyundai's global COO and North American CEO, said in an interview with Reuters that it could happen "before 2025."
Hyundai announced an Urban Air Mobility division headed by a NASA veteran in 2019. At the time, the company said it would invest $1.5 billion in urban air mobility by 2025.
Hyundai subsequently announced a partnership with Uber Elevate, the ride-sharing giant's nascent air-mobility division, to use its flying taxis on a planned Uber aerial network. The automaker also unveiled an electric flying-taxi concept at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Urban Air Port Air-One with a Hyundai Motor Group flying taxi concept
Earlier this year, Hyundai also announced a partnership with a company in the United Kingdom called Urban Air Port to develop the infrastructure required for flying taxis. That will include development of an urban airport for the vehicles in Coventry, U.K. Hyundai has also partnered with the company that runs South Korea's Incheon International Airport to incorporate flying-taxi infrastructure.
While Hyundai primarily envisions flying vehicles carrying five or six passengers between airports and urban centers, the company is also considering cargo services, Munoz told Reuters.
Electric air taxis are essentially unproven, but several other companies are also experimenting with them.
Boeing and Porsche have teamed up to design a "premium" air taxi, and Daimler, Geely, and Toyota have backed projects as well.