Miami and Hyundai Plan Deployment of Air Taxis in South Florida
South Florida is learning to fly, but it ain’t got wings … yet!
The city of Miami is hovering closer to providing its denizens with air taxis after signing a memorandum of understanding with Supernal, a division of Hyundai Motor Group, the company announced Tuesday.
The two parties took the first steps toward launching an engagement framework that will enable Supernal to develop an advanced air mobility service for mass transit between cities and within communities.
This is the first such agreement for Supernal, which only launched in November 2021, as Hyundai’s “urban air mobility” division. For Miami, however, this is at least the third company to promise the arrival of air taxis in the foreseeable future, including Archer Aviation and Joby Aviation.
Mayor Francis Suarez and Supernal CEO Jaiwon Shin will work with community organizations to identify current gaps in existing transit options and how workforce development and education initiatives can benefit local residents.
”Our partnership with the city of Miami is about more than selling electric air vehicles or securing rights to establish operations,” Diana Cooper, global head of policy and regulation at Supernal, said in a statement. “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.”
How Supernal will transport their human cargo is not quite clear. Broadly, Supernal envisions a vehicle for electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) that could launch as early as 2028 with a payload of four to five passengers and an electric engine. Boston Dynamics, HTWO and Motional are in the development process with Hyundai
“This [memorandum of understanding] will pave the way for cities nationwide and across the world to solve mobility challenges that will enhance the quality of life for their constituents,” Suarez said in a statement.
The news follows an August 2021 announcement that parking operator REEF Technology and partner Archer Aviation will bring air taxis to Miami and Los Angeles by 2024. The latter plans to use REEF Technology’s urban parking garages as takeoff and landing pads, Commercial Observer reported.
Archer has developed its aircraft already, however, a helicopter-like aircraft called the Maker.
Joby Aviation, a direct competitor with Archer, partnered with REEF over the summer for a similar plan to open up the skies to Miami residents. The firm bought the air-taxi division of rideshare app Uber and regards parking garages as an ideal location for “skyports.”
Unlike the eVTOL dreamed up by Joby or Archer, Supernal envisions an aircraft with wings, as indicated by some of the renderings on the company’s website.
Mark Hallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.