Hyundai’s air taxi company eyes Miami for 2028 takeoff

Industry

Miami’s sunny skies may soon be getting crowded.

Supernal, Hyundai Motor Group’s air mobility division, inked a memorandum of understanding with the South Florida city on March 1 that lays the groundwork for the launch of flying taxis as early as 2028.

The company and city leaders together intend to address regulatory and infrastructure needs to usher in an era of electric air vehicles that might complement and connect existing modes of transportation.

“At this stage, our interest is bringing together different public and private sector voices to explore when and how [advanced air mobility] can address the city’s transportation needs and challenges,” Diana Cooper, global head of policy and regulation at Supernal, said in a written statement. “From there, we will create a road map together based on community input and other considerations.”

In the nascent air mobility realm, Miami has taken center stage. Supernal is the fourth air taxi company with plans to make the city an early hub for its commercialization efforts.

“The future of mobility is being designed and deployed in Florida because of the regulatory environment and the state’s willingness to embrace innovation,” Grayson Brulte, founder of mobility consulting agency Brulte & Co., told Automotive News.

Last August, Archer Aviation forged a partnership with Reef Technology, a Miami company that is a leading operator and developer of parking real estate and delivery restaurants. They’re working together to find suitable locations, including urban rooftops, that Archer can use as “vertiports” for its electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles.

Reef has a similar partnership in place with Toyota-backed Joby Aviation.

Both competitors anticipate starting operations in 2024. A Joby prototype aircraft crashed during high-speed testing in California last month, and it’s unclear how that setback may affect the company’s launch timelines.

Also, German air taxi company Lilium has indicated it plans to operate an air network throughout Florida.

Hyundai established its air mobility division in January 2020 and rebranded it Supernal last year. It’s one of several automakers dabbling in the air mobility space. The company is developing a family of electric air mobility vehicles and intends to use its automotive manufacturing expertise and capacity to scale affordable air taxis.

Hyundai anticipates that public acceptance of the industry will begin to grow in the 2030s.

But there’s a healthy dose of skepticism surrounding air mobility’s prospective role in transportation, according to management consulting firm SMG. The firm’s Advanced Air Mobility Reality Index ranks Supernal as 13th among more than 600 entrants vying for a slice of the market.

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