The latest news: Supernal, a division of Hyundai, hopes Miami will be its ‘model’ market for air taxi ride-sharing service rollout in 2028
Miami continues to be the center of attention for the emerging air taxi industry — without even having a company based here. Now at least four companies that are building eVTOL (electric vehicle takeoff and landing) aircraft ride-sharing services are hovering over the Magic City, hoping to whisk residents and tourists up and over our notorious traffic.
Supernal, an eVTOL service planned by Hyundai Motor Group, announced this week that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Miami. As part of the agreement, the City will work with Supernal to identify gaps in the local transportation system and develop policies to enable the service, which would be integrated with exiting transit services such as the Metrorail and trains. The Venture Miami office, under Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, will convene regular working group meetings with community, business and education leaders.
Miami as an initial market for Supernal’s service could also be a model for rollouts in other markets, executives said. The company launched as the Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group in January 2020 and debuted as Supernal in November 2021. In addition to working with public and private stakeholders to responsibly shape what it calls its emerging Advanced Air Mobility service, Supernal is developing a family of electric air vehicles.
“Because of the leadership demonstrated by Mayor Suarez, our work together will help establish the city of Miami as a model for AAM market development we hope to replicate in other cities,” said Jaiwon Shin, CEO of Supernal and President of Hyundai Motor Group.
Supernal plans to launch its first commercial flights in 2028.
Other companies may have first-mover advantage however, according to their current, albeit aggressive, timelines. Seemingly addressing the feisty competition, a Supernal executive said the company’s partnership with MIami is about more than selling electric air vehicles or securing rights to establish operations. “At this stage, our interest is bringing together different public and private sector voices to explore when and how AAM can address the city’s transportation needs and challenges. From there, we will create a roadmap together based on community input and other considerations. When Miami succeeds, Supernal succeeds,” said Diana Cooper, Supernal’s Global Head of Policy and Regulation.
Still, the feisty competition has been making progress too.
Palo Alto-based Archer Aviation, a developer of eVTOLs, was one of the first to announce Miami would be one of its two launch cities, along with LA. The now public company will be partnering with Miami-based REEF Technology to develop plans for urban takeoff and landing sites; it will likely specialize in hops of 10 to 40 miles, saving riders the most time. Archer, a startup with Florida roots, plans to launch an Urban Air Mobility network in Miami in 2024.
The company that acquired Uber Elevate (Uber’s former air taxi arm) in December 2020 is Joby Aviation. Joby, also now public andalso based in California, has said it plans to launch in 2024 in markets that include Miami, because of the Miami market’s density, customers’ ability to pay, and infrastructure. Joby has also announced a partnership with REEF for potential vertiport locations.
Lilium, a German company, announced in 2020 it planned to build a Florida network of so-called vertiports, with a hub right in the middle near Orlando, and launch service in 2025. Construction of the Central Florida hub is proceeding and the company is reportedly identifying multiple South Florida locations. Palm Beach County has already agreed to lease 5 acres on Palm Beach International’s grounds to host two vertiports. Lilium also has said it is interested in offering longer hops – up to 180 miles – making a Miami to the Magic Kingdom run in an hour in the realm of possibility, for the kids, of course.