Hyundai is getting into the flying car business

Hyundai Motor Group has launched a new air mobility division aimed at developing technology for the commercialization of flying cars, the latest company to dive into the emerging industry.

The division will be led by Dr. Jaiwon Shin, an aeronautics engineer who most recently led the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA. While at NASA, Shin oversaw a $725 million program into aeronautics research initiatives, such as a supersonic X-plane, the electrification of aircraft, UAS traffic management and urban air mobility.

The South Korean automaker said the business unit led by Shin will “develop core technologies and innovative solutions for safe and efficient airborne travel.” Shin’s expertise centers on airframe, engine, aviation safety and air traffic management — technologies that Hyundai says will allow it to take a lead in the urban air mobility sector.

That urban air sector is expected to grow into a market worth $1.5 trillion within the next 20 years, according to Shin.

Of course, there are many others pursuing various kinds of air taxis, including Uber, Kitty Hawk Corp., Terrafugia and Volocopter, to name just a few.

All of these companies, including Hyundai, see the flying cars as a way to solve the traffic problems on the ground. Flying cars could merely move that congestion to the skies, which is why technologies around airspace traffic management — which Shin has experience in — is just as important as developing the aircraft.