Uber, Hyundai Motor team up to develop electric air taxi

The Uber Technologies Inc. application is displayed in the App Store on an Apple Inc. iPhone in an arranged photograph taken in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. on Monday, April 29, 2019. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc and South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor plan to jointly develop electric air taxis, they said on Monday, joining the race for flying cars to ease urban congestion.

Hyundai unveiled a concept electric aircraft developed with Uber at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday, which is designed to fly on trips of up to 60 miles (100 km) and has a cruising speed of up to 180 miles per hour (290 km per hour).

Uber has pledged to begin demonstrator urban flights in 2020 and commercial operations in 2023 as part of its project, which also counts Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences as one of its partner firms. Hyundai is the first carmaker to team up with Uber on the project.

“Hyundai will produce and deploy the air vehicles, and Uber will provide airspace support services, connections to ground transportation, and customer interfaces through an aerial rideshare network,” the two companies said in a joint statement.

Plane makers, car manufacturers and technology firms are jumping into the flying car segment designed to address urban congestion, although significant technological and regulatory hurdles remain to be addressed.

Last year, Hyundai hired Shin Jai-won, a veteran aeronautics engineer from NASA, to head its newly established Urban Air Mobility Division, and pledged to invest 1.8 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in what it called “urban air mobility” by 2025.

U.S. planemaker Boeing Co said in October it was working with Volkswagen’s sports car brand, Porsche, to develop a concept electric flying vehicle capable of transporting people in urban areas.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.