Hyundai and Supernal, two of the leading players in the advanced air mobility (AAM) industry, have unveiled their latest electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle product concept at CES 2024. The S-A2 is a sleek and futuristic aircraft that promises to revolutionize the way people travel in urban areas, offering a fast, safe, and affordable alternative to conventional modes of transportation.
What is eVTOL and Why is it Important?
eVTOL stands for electric vertical takeoff and landing, which means that the aircraft can take off and land vertically without the need for a runway, using electric power instead of fossil fuels. This makes eVTOL vehicles ideal for urban environments, where space is limited and traffic congestion is a major problem.
According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the global market for eVTOL passenger services could reach $200 billion by 2030, with more than 100 million passengers using eVTOL vehicles annually. The benefits of eVTOL include:
- Reducing travel time and emissions: eVTOL vehicles can fly over traffic and avoid road infrastructure, saving time and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
- Improving accessibility and affordability: eVTOL vehicles can operate from rooftops, parking lots, or other small spaces, making them more accessible and convenient than traditional aircraft. They can also leverage existing electric charging infrastructure, lowering passengers' operating costs and fares.
- Enhancing safety and reliability: eVTOL vehicles are designed with redundant systems and advanced technologies, such as distributed electric propulsion, autonomous flight control, and collision avoidance, to ensure high levels of safety and reliability.
How Hyundai and Supernal Are Leading the eVTOL Industry
Hyundai and Supernal are two of the most prominent and innovative companies in the eVTOL industry, with a shared vision of creating a new era of flight. Hyundai is one of the world’s largest automakers, with strong expertise in mass production, design, and customer experience. Supernal is Hyundai’s AAM subsidiary, with a team of more than 600 experts in aerospace engineering, software development, and business strategy.
The two companies have collaborated to develop the S-A2, their eVTOL vehicle product concept, which builds on the vision concept S-A1 that they debuted at CES 2020. The S-A2 is a pilot-plus-four-passenger vehicle that can cruise at 120 miles per hour at a 1,500-foot altitude, covering typical city trips of 25 to 40 miles. The S-A2 features:
- Eight all-tilting rotors: The rotors can tilt to enable both vertical and horizontal flight, with high efficiency and low noise. The S-A2 is designed to operate as quietly as a dishwasher, with 65 dB in vertical takeoff and landing phases and 45 dB while cruising horizontally.
- Distributed electric propulsion: The propulsion system consists of multiple electric motors that are powered by batteries, which can be recharged quickly and easily. The system also provides redundancy and fault tolerance, enhancing safety and reliability.
- V-tail aircraft design: The aircraft has a V-shaped tail that improves aerodynamics and stability, as well as providing more cabin space and comfort for passengers.
- Hyundai Motor Group aesthetic design: The S-A2 has a sleek and futuristic appearance, with a white and blue color scheme that reflects Hyundai’s brand identity. The S-A2 also incorporates Hyundai’s signature lighting and grille elements, creating a distinctive and recognizable look.
The S-A2 is designed to achieve the global commercial aviation standard of safety, which is the highest level of safety in the aviation industry. The S-A2 has a robust airframe structure and redundant components in critical systems, such as powertrain, flight controls, and avionics. The S-A2 also leverages Hyundai’s mass production capability, which enables high-quality and cost-effective manufacturing.
The S-A2 is expected to enter the market in 2028 after undergoing rigorous testing and certification processes. Hyundai and Supernal plan to partner with various stakeholders, such as regulators, operators, infrastructure providers, and customers, to create a comprehensive and sustainable ecosystem for eVTOL services.
How Hyundai and Supernal Are Showcasing Their eVTOL Concept at CES 2024
Hyundai and Supernal have chosen CES 2024, the world’s largest and most influential technology event, to showcase their eVTOL concept to the public. CES 2024 is held in Las Vegas from January 9 to 12, and attracts more than 170,000 attendees from over 160 countries.
At CES 2024, Hyundai and Supernal have set up a vertiport, which is a landing and takeoff facility for eVTOL vehicles, at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The vertiport is a modular and scalable structure that can be installed on rooftops, parking lots, or other urban spaces. The vertiport features:
- A landing pad: The landing pad is a circular platform that can accommodate one eVTOL vehicle at a time, with a diameter of 40 feet. The landing pad has a wireless charging system that can recharge the eVTOL vehicle’s batteries in less than 10 minutes.
- A passenger terminal: The passenger terminal is a rectangular building that can accommodate up to 20 passengers at a time, with a floor area of 1,000 square feet. The passenger terminal has a check-in kiosk, a security scanner, a waiting lounge, and a boarding gate. The passenger terminal also has a digital display that shows the flight information and status of the eVTOL vehicle.
- A control tower: The control tower is a cylindrical tower that rises above the landing pad and the passenger terminal, with a height of 60 feet. The control tower has a radar system, a communication system, and a surveillance system that monitors and coordinates the eVTOL vehicle’s flight operations. The control tower also has a backup power system that ensures the continuity of the vertiport’s functions in case of a power outage.
The vertiport is designed to provide a safe, efficient, and convenient experience for eVTOL passengers and demonstrate the feasibility and scalability of eVTOL infrastructure. The vertiport is also designed to be environmentally friendly, using renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, to power its operations.
At CES 2024, Hyundai and Supernal offer demonstration flights of their eVTOL concept to selected attendees, who can register online or at the vertiport. The demonstration flights are conducted by professional pilots, who fly the eVTOL vehicle along a predefined route that covers some of the iconic landmarks of Las Vegas, such as the Stratosphere Tower, the Bellagio Fountains, and the Las Vegas Strip. The demonstration flights last about 15 minutes and provide a glimpse of the future of urban air mobility.
Hyundai and Supernal are among the pioneers and leaders of the eVTOL industry, with their innovative and ambitious eVTOL concept. The S-A2 is a state-of-the-art aircraft that combines the best of aerospace engineering and automotive design, offering a new mode of transportation that is fast, safe, and affordable. The vertiport is a practical and scalable infrastructure that supports eVTOL services, providing passengers a seamless and enjoyable experience. By showcasing their eVTOL concept at CES 2024, Hyundai and Supernal display their technological prowess and inspire the public to imagine and embrace the future of urban air mobility.