July 18, 2022
Supernal, a part of Hyundai Motor Group developing an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, has announced its initial cabin concept at the Farnborough International Airshow, providing a first look at how Hyundai is integrating automotive capabilities to develop the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market.
The two groups partnered to create the cabin concept as Supernal works to certify the eVTOL vehicle for commercial use in the U.S. starting in 2028 – and in Europe and the U.K. shortly after. The company is also collaborating with external partners and more than 50 affiliates, which includes companies in the automotive, parts, construction, robotics and autonomous driving space.
“In order for Advanced Air Mobility to become a widespread mode of transportation, every detail – from the passenger experience to regulations and infrastructure – needs to be addressed from the start and work in lockstep with one another,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “Leveraging Hyundai Motor Group’s mobility capabilities, Supernal is investing time and resources upfront to ensure the industry can scale to the masses in the coming decades and reach its exciting potential.”
The five-seat cabin concept aims to optimize the AAM passenger experience and price point, while meeting commercial aviation safety standards. The design embodies biomimicry philosophy – a butterfly in this case – along with human-centered design and evnrionmental responsibility, said Supernal.
“We are taking the time to create a safe, lightweight commercial eVTOL that provides our future passengers with the security and comfort they find in their own cars.”
The company said it utilized the automotive industry’s reductive design approach to create a lightweight interior cabin, which is made of forged carbon fiber. Ergonomically contoured seats offer a “cocoon-like environment” for passengers. Deployable seat consoles mimic automobile center consoles and provide a charging station and stowage compartment for personal items. Grab handles that are built into the cabin doors and seatbacks assist with ingress and egress, and a combination of lighting – including overhead lights inspired by automobile sunroofs – adjusts with the various stages of flight to emulate “light therapy” effects. The cabin layout draws on automotive space innovation with a minimized bulkhead, which allows for “generous headroom and package functionalities,” said Supernal.
The cabin concept also includes sustainable materials such as advanced recyclable carbon fiber, reinforced thermoplastic, durable plant-based leather, recycled plastic fabric and responsibly sourced woods. Supernal said the seat frame also utilizes excess raw material from the airframe manufacturing process. “The Supernal eVTOL vehicle draws on the competence of the Hyundai Motor Group and the skillset of experienced automotive designers, which allowed us to develop a new air mobility concept that is not only safe and rational but also highly emotional,” said Luc Donckerwolke, chief creative officer at Hyundai Motor Group.
In addition to the U.S.-based supernal’s plan for intra-city passenger journeys starting in 2028, the group’s Korea-based division focused on regional air mobility is developing a hydrogen-powered midsized vehicle for regional – city-to-city – cargo and passenger journeys, which it expects to launch in the 2030s. The two companies aid they are partnering with manufacturing innovation teams around the world to create a high-quality AAM manufacturing process that will produce electric air vehicles at scale – at an increasingly affordable price point – over the coming decades.
“Hyundai Motor Group is working to leverage synergies between automotive’s high-rate manufacturing capabilities and aerospace’s high certification standards to build the foundation for everyday use of passenger and cargo air vehicles,” said Shin.
Internal view of eVTOL cabin.
The cabin supports lightweight frames made of sustainable materials.
Cabin lighting can change depending on different stages of flight and to add “light therapy” effects.
Consoles in each seat allow for device charging and other information.