Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Monday they are pushing ahead with developing flying cars, with the South Korean company expressing optimism it could have an air-taxi service in operation as soon as 2025.
A GM executive said it could take until 2030 for air-taxi services to overcome technical and regulatory hurdles and reach commercialisation.
The zero-emissions aircraft, which take off and land like helicopters and carry passengers and cargo, are being developed by a number of startups as well as aircraft makers and automakers, but they face a long road to profitability.
Hyundai is ahead of its previously stated timetable for rolling out air-mobility vehicles, Jose Munoz, the company’s global chief operating officer, said in an interview broadcast on Monday at the Reuters Events Car of the Future conference.
“We see this market as a significant growth opportunity,” Munoz said, adding he was “very confident” of the technology’s development.
Hyundai is developing air taxis powered by electric batteries that can transport five to six people from highly congested urban centers to airports.
She added: “It’s a very nascent space. There’s a lot of work to be done on the regulatory side, as well as the actual technology side.”
In January, GM unveiled a flying Cadillac concept.
In 2019, Hyundai, which has a dedicated Urban Air Mobility Division led by Jaiwon Shin, a former NASA engineer, pledged to invest about $1.5 billion in urban air mobility by 2025.
Munoz said Hyundai sees its flying cars serving not only residential customers but also transporting commercial cargo.
Hyundai does not want to sell flying cars as a simple transaction, but believes it can develop services around the vehicles, Munoz said.