Hyundai Joins the Flying Vehicle Race

The lofty flying vehicle dreams! This time South Korea’s well-known multinational automotive manufacturer Hyundai has announced that they are entering the growing list of automotive and tech companies that are competing to develop flying vehicles. Hyundai Motors hired a former NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) engineer Dr. Jaiwon Shin, for developing flying vehicle concepts at its new division called UAM (Urban Air Mobility).

At Hyundai, Dr. Shin and his team will be assigned with developing the fundamental technologies behind the company’s new flying vehicles. According to Hyundai’s projection, in the next 20 years, the Urban Air Mobility division will grow and will have a market of up to $1.5 trillion USD.

A flying car AeroMobil CZECH-SLOVAKIA
A flying car AeroMobil CZECH-SLOVAKIA / GettyImages

Popular companies such as Uber, Volocopter, Lilium, Boeing are the pioneer in UAM and has already announced their plans and are investing big in UAM. For example, Toyota invested $375,000 into a project from a group of employees who have been developing a single-person flying vehicle. Early tests looked rough, but the group set a goal using the machine to light the Olympic torch at the upcoming 2020 games in Tokyo next year.

Hyundai’s new Urban Air Mobility division aims to decrease the traffic congestion resulting from what the firm calls “mega-urbanization.”

The management of the automakers admits that they are not even in the top 10 developers of aircraft, but hopes that Shin’s knowledge and experience in developing supersonic X-plane, electric aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will help Hyundai gain an advantage over its rivals.

Aimal Khan is the founder & CEO of Engineering Passion. He is an engineer and has obtained his bachelor's degree in energy engineering from Kandahar University.