Hyundai Motor Group, which primarily makes cars, has announced that they hired a former NASA administrator to lead a new division to “provide innovate and smart mobility solutions never seen or thought of before.” Truly, machines that fly are a new idea.
I don’t mean to make too much light of this, because the nascent flying car industry is very real, and Hyundai, to its credit, doesn’t use that term in its press release. It instead calls this new division Urban Air Mobility, which I suppose could mean it wants to develop all sorts of aircraft, whether it be flying Sonata, a drone-like helicopter kind of thing, or possibly just a straight up plane. Hyundai doesn’t get specific.
Urban Air Mobility is expected to become a critically important part of the integrated mobility solution for ever-increasing traffic problems in mega cities around the world.
The person leading this, an engineer named Jaowin Shin, spent 30 years at NASA, and seems to have the right cred.
Dr. Shin most recently led the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA, where he shaped the agency’s aeronautics research and development strategy for over 11 years. His expertise in revolutionary airframe, engine, aviation safety, and air traffic management technologies will allow Hyundai Motor Group to take a lead in the fast-growing urban air mobility sector.
That’s all well and good, but the tech to develop these things still seems years away, especially the tech for something affordable and something that matches Hyundai’s stated ambition of helping to alleviate traffic in big cities. Infrastructure and government regulation are also big hurdles, but Hyundai thinks there might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“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.”