Hyundai unveiled Human centered future mobility at the 2020 edition of CES. Helmed by Dr. Jaiwon Shin, a NASA veteran of 30 years who took over as the head of the head of the automaker’s new Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division, Hyundai indicated at the show that it is serious about its desire to emerge as a leader in the world of flying cars by developing core products and technologies. Last month, Hyundai had announced that it would be investing USD 52 billion in Strategy 2025. A part of this amount would be used to develop smart mobility devices and services. For CES, Hyundai tied up with Uber to provide a sneak peek of its vision for smart mobility. The highlights of its booth were the S-A1 personal air vehicle, the S-Link purpose-built vehicle, and the S-Hub landing and docking space.
All three exhibits were collectively called the UAM-PBV-Hub forming a mobility system whose goal was stated to be “to free future cities and people from constraints of time and space and allow them to create more value in their lives.”
The S-A1 serves as a fully electric urban air taxi that can accommodate four passengers and a pilot. The pilot will be needed only till technology evolves to the point where the vehicle becomes fully autonomous and the S-A1 can fly without human intervention. Hyundai developed with Uber Elevate and the vehicle uses multiple small rotors for quieter operation and redundancy. A parachute system serves as a backup in case of an emergency. The S-A1 has been designed to fly between 1,000 and 2,000 feet high at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, and once it becomes viable, the S-A1 can reduce the a two-hour car commute to 10 airborne minutes in a flying car. Currently, the vehicle’s range is 60 miles. As part of the partnership, Hyundai will build the vehicles while Uber will deal with interfaces, the software back-end, airspace support, and connections to ground transportation.
The S-Link is another autonomous, open-plan, wheeled container that can be modified based on the environment and can be used foe transporting people. It comprises modular upper and lower bodies and can vary in length from 13 to 21 feet based on the number of modules used. It can serve different purposes including serving as a restaurant or as a medical clinic. The S-link can serve as part of a platoon and use Artificial intelligence to select the most efficient route through the city of the future. The pods can be charged while on the go with “charger PBVs”. According to Hyundai, when several S-Links are gathered at the S-Hub depot, they can be connected to form larger gathering spaces such as museums, concert halls, or an entire medical complex.
The S-Hub is a space designed to “connect people to people and create new innovative communities” and served as a venue for the flying taxi and the self-driving bus to come together. Hyundai used a Human-Centered City Advisory Group, comprising “top global experts from fields such as psychology, architecture, urban design, transportation, and political science” Each step in the scenario Hyundai presented at CES supports the three key tenets the advisory group built the future city on: vitalize, enable and care.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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