Rolls-Royce And Hyundai Will Work Together On a Flying Taxi
Rolls-Royce and Hyundai working together seems like an unlikely pairing, but it’s not. Rolls-Royce has a division that makes airplane engines and Hyundai has a division call Supernal that aims to make an affordable, zero-emission flying taxi service a reality.
Supernal is developing a family of electric VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft for a planned flying taxi service, and showed off what the cabin of one of these aircraft will look like at 2022 Farnborough International Airshow currently underway in the UK.
The cabin seats five, plus the pilot, and has been designed using influences from a butterfly. The airframe’s construction consists of forged carbon fiber. The interior trim are made from plant-based leather used on the seats and responsibly sourced wood panels used elsewhere in the cabin. The seat frames are made using offcuts from the airframe.
Supernal taxi is being developed to run on batteries, which means flights will be limited to cross-city trips. For longer flights, Supernal plans to use of hydrogen fuel cells. An example flight route could be a 24-minute trip between downtown Los Angeles and Anaheim, as opposed to around 70 minutes that a car trip requires during peak hour.
Supernal used the Farnborough airshow to announce the Rolls-Royce partnership. The joint venture will develop and manufacture propulsion units. Supernal will use the partnership to draw upon Rolls-Royce’s aviation and certification experience to accelerate the development of fuel-cell propulsion systems for their taxi.
Supernal promise the first commercial flight by 2028. However, I remain skeptical. Remember, we were supposed to have flying cars as far back as the 50’s.