Hyundai Launches New Company for Urban Air Mobility: Supernal
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby
Today, Hyundai Motor Group announced a new company called Supernal, LLC to advance its mobility solutions. As the evolution of its Urban Air Mobility Division, Supernal will be the key player in the Group’s future mobility vision. Supernal is developing a line of electric air vehicles and assembling public and private stakeholders to responsibly shape the growing Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry. The Company plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2028 and scale operations, capitalizing on the Group’s manufacturing expertise, as the AAM market and public acceptance begin to grow in the 2030s.
“In adding a new dimension to mobility, we are on a mission to transform how people and society move, connect, and live,” said Jaiwon Shin, CEO of Supernal and President of Hyundai Motor Group. “We have bold ambitions at Supernal but being first to market is not one of them. We are working to build the right product and the right integrated market, and we will leverage Hyundai Motor Group’s scaled manufacturing expertise to ensure AAM reaches the right price point and is accessible to the masses.”
Hyundai Launches New Company
Resulting from the Group’s strategic transition from automaker to Smart Mobility Solution Provider, Supernal is one of over 50 cutting-edge companies in the Group’s network teaming up to make mobility a service, not just a product. Supernal is endeavoring to implement AAM into existing transit networks and to create a flawless intermodal passenger experience. The Company’s goal is to allow passengers to rely on a single app – akin to current rideshare platforms – to map out their journey, which could include taking a car or rail from home to an AAM “vertiport,” an eVTOL across town, and an e-scooter for the last mile.
Supernal was initially launched as the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group at CES 2020, during which it introduced its initial concept vehicle, the S-A1. Supernal continues to advance and improve the eVTOL vehicle it will bring to market first and plans to begin certification with U.S. regulatory agencies in 2024. The Company’s first air vehicle, intended to accommodate up to five passengers, will be electric-powered and autonomous-capable.
“We’re developing a commercially viable Advanced Air Mobility product from the start, designing and manufacturing our vehicle to the highest safety, noise, efficiency, and affordability standards,” said Supernal’s Chief Technology Officer Ben Diachun. “Our growing team, which includes veterans of aerospace, automotive, and other deep-tech industries, is engineering sustainable vehicles that have the potential to evolve how we live, work, and play.”
Supernal is making use of advanced technologies, systems, and airframe materials such as artificial intelligence, autonomous control, and electric powertrain in order to develop its vehicles, and will leverage Hyundai Motor Group’s mass production capabilities to scale production affordably. Additionally, the Company is founding a bench of academic partners to advance the AAM industry’s research frontier and talent pipeline.
Alongside its electric air vehicle development, Supernal is working to co-create the AAM industry and supporting ecosystem by cooperating with a wide range of stakeholders from public and private entities, other modes of mobility, academia, and startups, in order to address market entry challenges, cultivate public acceptance, and ensure AAM is economically accessible and environmentally sustainable.
“As an industry disruptor, we have a responsibility to ensure AAM integrates with and augments existing transit options and effectively serves local community needs,” said Shin. “Developing the market – from the vehicle to critical infrastructure networks and public acceptance – takes thoughtful and strategic coordination; everything needs to align at the same time for AAM to reach its full promise.”
With this objective, the Company is building partnerships at the local and state level across the United States. In 2020, Supernal formed a partnership with the City of Los Angeles and Urban Movement Labs to create a public engagement roadmap and policy toolkit that other cities and municipalities can use to advise their AAM efforts and timelines. Supernal also serves as an industry resource for policymakers interested in learning how AAM can address their communities’ transportation needs.
At both the national and international level, the Company is working alongside stakeholders to research concepts for physical and digital infrastructure. Last year, Supernal formed a partnership with Urban-Air Port, a participant in the U.K. government’s Future Flight Challenge, to evaluate new, multifunctional and scalable AAM infrastructure, and will be demonstrating a full-scale “vertiport” prototype in the United Kingdom next year. Supernal is also aiding CAAM (the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium) in building a framework for the Canadian AAM National Master Plan. The Company also recently announced the expansion of its Airspace Management Consortium, which is endeavoring to form a concept of operations for the consideration of policymakers.
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
Subscribe to DroneLife here.