Flying cars will be in our cities “by the latter part of this decade”, according to Michael Cole, chief executive for European operations at South Korean automaker Hyundai.
Hyundai, which is developing a flying taxi with Uber, expects electric flying cars to be seen in cities before the end of the decade.
“We think that by the latter part of this decade certainly,” Cole told the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders conference.
“Urban air mobility will offer great opportunity to free up congestion in cities, to help with emissions, whether that’s intra-city mobility in the air or whether it’s even between cities.”
Cole told the conference that Hyundai, which is owned by the world’s fifth-largest car manufacturer Hyundai Motor Group, is currently investing in the development of flying cars.
“If you’d asked me a few years ago were flying cars something that I would see in my lifetime, I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said.
“But it’s part of our future solution of offering innovative, smart mobility solutions.”
The Korean manufacturer unveiled a full-scale model of the flying vehicle it is developing with Uber at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2020.
Created as part of the company’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) plans, the eVTOL – electric vertical takeoff and landing – vehicle is named S-A1.
Designed for short flights in and between cities, it would be built from lightweight carbon composite materials and seat five people, including a pilot.
“We are looking at the dawn of a completely new era that will open the skies above our cities,” said Hyundai executive vice-president Jaiwon Shin at the time.
Hyundai is one of the numerous companies developing manned eVTOLs.
German aerial-taxi company Lilium successfully tested a five-seater electric flying taxi in 2017, while US aerospace company Boeing revealed a working prototype of a self-piloted passenger drone in 2019.
While Cole believes that we will see flying cars in our cities by 2030, others are more optimistic. Lilium expects to launch an all-electric air taxi service in multiple cities by 2025, while Uber is planning to launch app-based flying taxi service Uber Air in 2023.