Hyundai will introduce a flying car concept at this year's Consumer Electronics Show as part of a larger vision for a future personal mobility ecosystem, the company announced Friday.
The car — yes, we use that term loosely — will appear alongside two more conceptual designs. The first, which Hyundai refers to as a "purpose built vehicle" concept, is little more than a flying cargo van; the second is the hub from which these hypothetical vehicles will operate.
The hub is key to Hyundai's vision. Placed throughout urban areas, they will serve as both access points for this quasi-decentralized transportation network and public gathering spaces for their surrounding communities.
"The use of airspace is expected to alleviate road congestion and give back quality time to city commuters," Hyundai's announcement said. It was otherwise light on details. We expect Hyundai will have more to say when it formally presents this vision to the public.
Automakers have expanded their presence at CES in recent years as they make more and more inroads into the mobility space, which encompasses everything from self-driving cars and e-bikes to broader concepts, such as urban planning and redevelopment.
Hyundai's vision for a connected future aligns with many other automakers', not to mention that of several non-automotive entities who are looking to get into the personal mobility game. Porsche announced in October that it has partnered with Boeing to develop what amounts to a flying car, and the latter's aerospace expertise makes their joint venture — dubbed Aurora Flight Sciences — one of the more promising in the industry.
Promising or not, aerial programs are still a long way off. Even by Aurora's (perhaps optimistic) estimation, demand for eVTOL vehicles won't start to pick up for at least five years. Regulatory realities could easily push that back years, if not decades.
Hyundai's concepts will be on display at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center on Jan. 6.
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