Not only is the auto industry primed for some pretty massive change as companies eye zero-emissions vehicles, but many of them also want to take to the skies with electric vertical-takeoff and landing machines, or eVTOLs. While the idea feels much further out than mass EV adoption, that hasn't stopped Hyundai from taking it seriously, and on Thursday, the UK stepped in to help it become reality.
Hyundai said the UK government selected Urban Air Port, a company focused on future eVTOL infrastructure, as the winner of the country's Future Flight Challenge. Urban Air Port already receives backing from Hyundai, but now, both will receive cooperation and a $1.6 million grant from the UK government.
The automaker's work with Urban Air Port comes as Hyundai plans for its own eVTOL to take to the skies by 2028. However, Hyundai said the lack of infrastructure for the futuristic flying contraptions is inexistent and remains a massive barrier to their adoption. So, it decided to work with an infrastructure company focused on rolling out 200 of these sites around the world in the next five years.
If they do come to life, the eVTOL sites promise seamless connections for electric cars, buses and other forms of mobility like scooters. Hyundai also believes these ports won't just unlock a solution to fewer cars on the road and less congestion, but also open up economic opportunities for cargo carriers. Further, the company imagines first responders could take advantage of them because unlike a fixed helipad, Urban Air Port's creation is mobile, capable of packing up and moving somewhere else to receive teams in the event of an emergency and aid. The ports also function off-the-grid and produce zero emissions, according to Hyundai.
These machines likely come as close as we'll get to "flying cars," but whether we see the sector flourish or come to life as quickly as numerous companies think it will, remains a big question mark.