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07.19 (금)

Hyundai Motor Group to begin air taxi trials in Indonesia

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[Courtesy of Supernal]

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Hyundai Motor Group is accelerating its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) expansion and plans to start an air taxi proof-of-concept (POC) test in Indonesia‘s new capital of Nusantara in July 2024.

According to industry sources and Indonesian state media on Tuesday, the automaker group is preparing for the air taxi POC test at Samarinda airport near Nusantara. A POC test verifies a technological idea by implementing it as an actual product before commercialization. The aircraft for the test is the OPPAV, jointly developed by the Hyundai Motor Group and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI).

The South Korean auto group signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Indonesian new capital authority for future air mobility technology cooperation at the end of 2022., the duo agreed to promote POC projects, including concept verification of ground and air integrated mobility and test flights under the MOU. It is believed that Indonesia’s geographical characteristics, with over 18,000 islands, make it an ideal testbed for the UAM POC test. Hyundai is expected to further detail its business plans in Indonesia via its U.S. subsidiary, Supernal.

Key Hyundai subsidiaries are also enhancing their UAM technology capabilities, with Hyundai Mobis Co. reportedly acquired its first UAM-related patents in March 2024. The patents include a control system and method for safety devices of rotary-wing aircraft and a system and method for reducing noise in urban aircraft, which are both aimed at securing core UAM technologies.

The noise cancellation technology is considered essential for UAM because, unlike helicopters, it operates in central urban areas. Hyundai Mobis‘ patented noise cancellation technology measures the rotational speed and position of the propeller and emits sound waves in the opposite phase to cancel out the noise. This method is similar to how global automakers measure the noise caused by friction between the road and tires and emit out-of-phase sound waves to reduce it.

The safety device control system in the latest patent includes technology that allows the aircraft to autonomously assess the risk of an accident during flight and automatically activate safety devices using on-board sensors.

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[Graphics by Song Ji-yoon]


According to reports by global consulting firms like Morgan Stanley, the global UAM market is expected to grow to $15.1 billion by 2030 and $1.47 trillion by 2040. Companies such as U.S.-based Joby Aviation Inc. are currently on the verge of establishing mass production systems for the global UAM market.

The technologies patented by Hyundai Mobis are expected to be applied to the UAM aircraft currently being developed by Supernal. Hyundai’s U.S. subsidiary unveiled the design and full-scale model of its new UAM aircraft earlier in the year at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Hyundai plans to use Supernal’s aircraft in the domestic UAM commercialization project, which is being undertaken in collaboration with six consortia formed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, KARI, and Korean conglomerates, with a target commercialization date of 2028.
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