Hyundai has announced the formation of Supernal, the latest iteration of the company’s urban air mobility division that is currently developing an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for ride-sharing applications.
The newly-formed company is developing “a family of electric air vehicles”, and it plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2028. Supernal was previously known as the Urban Air Mobility division within Hyundai, and which unveiled the S-A1 Urban Air Moblity concept eVTOL craft at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Supernal is working to integrate advanced air mobility into existing transit networks, through its vision of passengers using a single app to plan their journey that involves the use of a car or train from home to an air mobility “vertiport”, take an eVTOL craft across town, and then an e-scooter for the last mile, for instance.
Conceived for ride-sharing applications, the S-A1 is a four-rotor craft that rated for a cruising speed of 290 km/h at altitudes of between 300 metres and 600 metres above ground, and is capable of flights up to 100 km at a time, according to Hyundai. During peak hour operation, the S-A1 will require between five to seven minutes of recharging. Its vertical take-off and landing capability is made possible by its tilt-rotor configuration.
“We’re developing a commercially viable advanced air mobility product from the start, designing and manufacturing our vehicle to the highest safety, noise, efficiency and affordability standards,” said Supernal chief technology officer Ben Diachun.
Supernal is leveraging advanced technologies, systems and airframe materials as well as artificial intelligence, autonomous control, and electric powertrains for the development of its vehicles.
In the United States, Supernal is engaging cities and municipalities for the development of a public engagement roadmap in order to inform their advanced air mobility efforts and timelines. The company also serves as an industry resource for policymakers who are interested in understanding how advanced air mobility can address their respective communities’ transportation needs, it said.
On national and international levels, Supernal is working with stakeholders on concepts for physical and digital infrastructure. It entered into a partnership last year with Urban-Air Port, a participant in the United Kingdom government’s Future Flight Challenge for new, multifunctional and scalable air mobility infrastructure. To that end, it will showcase a full-scale vertiport prototype in the UK next year.
Across the Atlantic, the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) is also being supported by Supernal for the development of a framework for the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Master Plan, following Supernal’s earlier announcement of expanding the Airspace Management Consortium, which is in place to form a concept of operations for policymakers to consider.
The members of this consortium include Germany-based Skyroads (formerly D3 Technologies), an aviation embedded systems developer of software and hardware solutions for airspace management and air traffic control aimed at advanced air mobility; Altitude Angel, a UK-based traffic management provider for solutions including ground-to-aircraft systems and cameras; and OneSky, a US-based provider for the development of airspace assessment, operations, simulation and air traffic management solutions.
GALLERY: Hyundai S-A1 Urban Air Mobility concept
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