Hyundai is the latest automaker to pursue the lofty dream of the flying car. The company's new Urban Air Mobility Division aims to reduce the traffic congestion resulting from what the firm calls "mega-urbanization." To head this initiative, the business hires Dr. Jaiwon Shin, the former leader of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA.
"Having worked on cutting-edge aviation research and development at NASA for 30 years, I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to now shape urban air mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor Group," Dr. Shin said in Hyundai's announcement of his hiring. "The new team at Hyundai will develop core technologies that will establish the company as a driving force in urban air mobility, a sector that is expected to grow into a market worth USD 1.5 trillion within the next 20 years."
The goals of the Hyundai Urban Air Mobility Division seem fairly open at this early stage. It "aims to provide innovative and smart mobility solutions never seen or thought of before," according to the company. With such a broad scope, there's no telling what this new team might create.
While Hyundai is the first automaker to bring flying car development in-house with its own division, other firms in the industry are making big investments in this field. For example, Toyota invested $375,000 into a project from a group of employees who have been developing a single-person flying machine. Early tests looked rough, but the group set a goal using the machine to light the Olympic torch at the 2020 games in Tokyo.
The European aerospace giant Airbus is toying with a novel solution to this problem. It's working on a modular passenger pod that could attach to a quadrocopter to fly and connect to a separate four-wheeled platform for driving. Audi is contributing to the latter part of this initiative.