Hyundai forms Supernal to lead its urban air mobility division

Avatar for eVTOLBy eVTOL | November 9, 2021

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 27 seconds.

Hyundai Motor Group has announced the name of its United States-based urban air mobility (UAM) division on Tuesday.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., Supernal’s role will be to carve a spot for the company in the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry by developing a family of eVTOL aircraft and bringing together public and private stakeholders to help shape the company’s position in the industry.  

“In adding a new dimension to mobility, we are on a mission to transform how people and society move, connect, and live,” said Jaiwon Shin, chief executive officer of Supernal and president of Hyundai Motor Group, in a press release.

Supernal is setting its sights at launching its first commercial flight in 2028. Shin said the company has bold ambitions in the AAM space, but being first to market is not one of them.

“We are working to build the right product and the right integrated market, and we will leverage Hyundai Motor Group’s scaled manufacturing expertise to ensure AAM reaches the right price point and is accessible to the masses,” Shin said.

Hyundai first announced the launch of its UAM division in 2019. Since then, the company has developed its initial concept vehicle, the S-A1 air taxi, which it hopes will begin the certification process with the United States regulatory agencies in 2024. The company said its first vehicle will be electric-powered, autonomous, and capable of accommodating four to five passengers on initial urban and urban-adjacent routes.

Supernal said its team of experts in the aerospace, automotive, and deep tech industries is working to develop a commercially viable eVTOL from the start, “designing and manufacturing our vehicle to the highest safety, noise, efficiency, and affordability standards,” said Ben Diachun, chief technology officer at Supernal.  

Along with developing its eVTOL aircraft, the company said it is working to co-create and support an ecosystem that integrates the aircraft into existing transit networks. Its vision is for passengers to use an app — similar to rideshare platforms — to plan their commute, which would include taking several transportation modes.

“We have a responsibility to ensure AAM integrates with and augments existing transit options and effectively serves local community needs,” Shin said. “Developing the market — from the vehicle to critical infrastructure networks and public acceptance — takes thoughtful and strategic coordination. Everything needs to align at the same time for AAM to reach its full promise.”

Last year, Hyundai partnered with Los Angeles and Urban Movement Labs to develop a public engagement roadmap and policy toolkit that other cities and municipalities can use to inform their AAM efforts and timelines.

Hyundai also partnered with Urban-Air Port, a participant in the United Kingdom government’s Future Flight Challenge, to explore new, multifunctional and scalable AAM infrastructure and will showcase a full-scale “vertiport” prototype in the U.K.

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  1. I applaud Hyndai’s move into the AAM market, but I’m a little concerned they are coming in a bit late. That said, the vision for a fully integrated system that takes into account infrastructure and public acceptance is absolutely the right strategy. With both the financial backing and manufacturing experience from the automotive industry, they will be a force to reckon with!

  2. Good design engineers could make the above a reality.
    But it would fuel an irrational elitist world that would inevitably be corrupt.
    Such projects should not be financed.
    Solving climate change is vastly more important.

    But of course, my comment will probably hardly be noticed by those ready to finance such developments. That is the problem.

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