Hyundai hires a NASA engineer to run its new 'flying car' division

Christine Fisher
Contributing Writer

Today, Hyundai threw its hat into the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ring. The company announced that it's working to develop its own flying vehicles. Hyundai appointed Dr. Jaiwon Shin as head of its new UAM division. Most recently, Shin led NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. At Hyundai, Shin and his team will be tasked with developing the core technologies behind the company's flying vehicles.

According to Hyundai, the UAM sector is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion within the next 20 years. But Hyundai is far from the first to announce UAM plans. Uber is working on a flying taxi with Bell. Volocopter has an 18-rotor autonomous air taxi. Lilium's flying taxi may carry as many as five passengers, and Boeing and Kitty Hawk have teamed up on their own venture.

Still, Shin's experience working on the supersonic X-plane, electric aircraft, unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic management and UAM could give Hyundai an edge over its competition.