Hyundai Motor Group and its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, Supernal, have revealed their latest electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle product concept, S-A2, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 in Las Vegas. The S-A2 is a pilot-plus-four-passenger aircraft that can fly up to 120 miles per hour at a 1,500-foot altitude, making it ideal for short-distance urban trips. It has a distributed electric propulsion system with eight all-tilting rotors that enable it to take off and land vertically and cruise horizontally with high efficiency and low noise.

The S-A2 is the successor of the S-A1, which was first showcased at CES 2020 as a vision concept. The new vehicle incorporates the innovative aerospace engineering of Supernal and the automotive aesthetic design of Hyundai Motor Group, creating a new mode of transportation that is safe, efficient, and affordable.

A new era of flight

Supernal, which was established in 2020 as a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, is on a mission to commercialize everyday passenger air travel by 2028. The company has a team of more than 600 experts from various fields, including aviation, automotive, software, and battery technology. It also collaborates with trusted aviation suppliers and regulatory authorities around the world to ensure the highest standards of safety and quality.

“From the beginning, Supernal has been on a mission to create the right product and the right market at the right time,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “The unveiling of S-A2 demonstrates our unwavering commitment to deliver on that mission with a safe, efficient vehicle design that provides a clear path to market entry. By leveraging our talented 600-person team, the vast technical and business capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group, and trusted aviation suppliers around the world, Supernal is ready to deliver a new era of flight.”

Technical components

The S-A2 is a V-tail aircraft that has a robust airframe structure with redundant components in critical systems such as powertrain, flight controls, and avionics. It is designed to achieve the global commercial aviation standard of safety, which is much higher than the current requirements for general aviation.

The vehicle features a distributed electric propulsion architecture, which means that each rotor is powered by its own electric motor. This allows for greater reliability, redundancy, and efficiency, as well as lower maintenance costs and emissions. The rotors can also tilt to adjust the thrust direction, enabling smooth transitions between vertical and horizontal flight modes.

The S-A2 is designed to be as quiet as possible, to minimize the noise impact on the urban environment. At entry into service, Supernal’s vehicle will operate as quietly as a dishwasher: 65 dB in vertical take-off and landing phases and 45 dB while cruising horizontally. For comparison, a typical car produces about 70 dB of noise at highway speeds.

The vehicle is also designed to be cost-effective and mass-producible, leveraging Hyundai’s expertise and experience in automotive manufacturing. The vehicle will use standardized and modular components that can be easily assembled and replaced. The vehicle will also have a simplified and streamlined design that reduces the number of parts and the overall weight.

Vertiport concept

In addition to the S-A2 eVTOL vehicle, Supernal, and Hyundai Motor Group also presented a vertiport concept at CES 2024, which is a dedicated landing and takeoff facility for eVTOL vehicles. The vertiport is designed to be integrated with the existing urban infrastructure, such as rooftops, parking lots, or highways, to provide convenient and accessible locations for passengers to board and disembark.

The vertiport concept features a modular and scalable design that can accommodate different numbers and sizes of eVTOL vehicles, depending on the demand and capacity of each location. The vertiport also incorporates smart and sustainable technologies, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and battery storage, to generate and store renewable energy for the eVTOL vehicles and the facility itself.

The vertiport concept is part of Supernal and Hyundai Motor Group’s vision to create a seamless and integrated mobility ecosystem that connects the air and the ground, as well as different modes of transportation, such as cars, buses, trains, and bikes. The vertiport will also offer various services and amenities for the passengers, such as check-in, security, lounge, retail, and entertainment.

Future outlook

Supernal and Hyundai Motor Group are confident that the S-A2 eVTOL vehicle and the vertiport concept will revolutionize the way people travel in urban areas by offering a faster, safer, and more convenient alternative to conventional modes of transportation. The company estimates that the global market for AAM will reach $1.5 trillion by 2035, with $430 billion coming from the passenger transportation segment.

The company is currently testing and validating its vehicle design and performance and obtaining certification from the relevant authorities, such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe. The company plans to launch its service in select cities in the US, Europe, and Asia by 2028, with the goal of expanding to more markets and regions in the following years.

The company is also building partnerships with various stakeholders, such as airlines, airports, municipalities, regulators, operators, and service providers, to create a collaborative and supportive environment for its AAM service's successful deployment and operation. The company believes that AAM will benefit not only the individual passengers but also the society and the environment by reducing traffic congestion, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are very excited to share our vision and progress with the world at CES 2024, which is the premier platform for showcasing cutting-edge technology and innovation,” said Shin. “We believe that AAM will be a game-changer for the future of mobility, and we are committed to making it a reality for everyone. We invite everyone to join us on this journey and experience the joy of flight with Supernal.”

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