South Korean automaker Hyundai is an up-and-coming global competitor for General Motors, and now, the company has announced a new futuristic research division devoted to creating the next big thing in urban mobility. No, not autonomous vehicles or all-electric drivetrains – flying cars.
That’s right, Hyundai wants to build flying cars. The automaker’s new research group is dubbed the Urban Air Mobility Division, and it hopes to reduce traffic congestion by taking cars off the street. Literally.
Taking the lead in Hyundai’s new flying cars division is Dr. Jaiwon Shin, a former Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA.
“Having worked on cutting-edge aviation research and development at NASA for 30 years, I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to now shape urban air mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor Group,” Dr. Shin said in a press release. “The new team at Hyundai will develop core technologies that will establish the company as a driving force in urban mobility, a sector that is expected to grow into a market worth USD 1.5 trillion within the next 20 years.”
Hyundai says that Dr. Shin’s “expertise in revolutionary airframe, engine, aviation safety, and air traffic management technologies will allow Hyundai Motor Group to take a lead in the fast-growing urban air mobility sector.”
Dr. Shin’s previous work includes involvement with the supersonic X-plane, aircraft electrification, UAS traffic management, and Urban Air Mobility. Dr. Shin also held positions as co-chair for the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Aeronautics Science and Technology Subcommittee, and co-chair for the USAF / NASA Executive Research Committee.
Meanwhile, GM seems more concerned with producing electric vehicles and autonomous driving tech than it is flying cars. Indeed, EV’s and driverless cars certainly seem like more of a near-term project compared to Hyundai’s flying cars initiative, but it’s a pretty cool thought regardless.