Hyundai Motor Group has recruited a former NASA expert in aviation to develop urban air mobility (UAM) commonly called “flying taxis.”
The group announced on Sept. 30 that it has established the Urban Air Mobility Division dedicated to developing core technologies for urban aviation mobility and appointed Shin Jae-won, who managed aviation research at U.S. NASA, as its head.
The announcement came one week after the group agreed with Aptiv, one of the world's best self-driving technology firms, to set up a joint venture tasked with commercializing autonomous driving technologies.
The growth of large cities around the world has resulted in overcrowding and a deterioration of mobility efficiency. This global trend fuels the need for future transportation means. In the automotive industry, UAM is emerging as an innovative alternative. In the same vein, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk is building a high-speed underground traffic tunnel “Loop” in Los Angeles.
By hiring Shin, Hyundai Motor Group has shown its determination to develop a completely different future transportation means. Already, luxury car brand Audi and aircraft manufacturer Airbus jointly introduced a concept aviation taxi called Pop-up Next last year. Global technology, e-commerce and logistics giants such as Google, Uber, Amazon, DHL and UPS, and about 170 startups are also developing technology for future transportation means.
U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley forecast that the UAM market will grow to US$1.5 trillion by 2040.
“UAM will bring innovation to the aviation industry, the automobile industry and urban transportation systems that have been evolving for more than 100 years,” said a Hyundai Motor Group official. “We want to be a company that delivers innovative smart mobility solutions."