Supernal, a division of Hyundai Motor Group that is developing a five-passenger flying taxi, has opened two new facilities in Irvine.
The company recently opened its engineering headquarters in a 105,000-square-foot, four-story office in the Irvine Spectrum District, along with a nearby 80,000-square-foot test-and-evaluation site.
“This strategic location enables us to expand our team of experts in aerospace, automotive and deep-tech,” says Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal.
Success, he adds, “hinges on leveraging exceptional tech talent, making Irvine the prime location for our engineering headquarters.”
Supernal now employs over 200 people in Irvine, including its powertrain team, airframe team and system-and-safety team – with plans to hire another 100 this year and eventually expand to 500.
Established in 2020 as Hyundai’s Advanced Air Mobility company, Supernal is developing what is called an “electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle” or an eVTOL aircraft – which will become its flying taxi.
Soon a reality
Flying taxis could safely be in operation within two years, according to Billy Nolen, former acting Federal Aviation Administration administrator.
“We expect the first air taxis to take flight either late next year or in early 2025,” he tells The Wall Street Journal. “And we’re ready in the industry.”
Flying taxis will be in wide use for the 2028 L.A. Olympics, he predicts, and quickly grow into a fully “mature” nationwide industry.
For users, that means a seamless experience where you could ride an e-scooter to a neighborhood “vertiport” (much like a taxi stand today), then climb into an electric air taxi, which would whisk you across town – or even to a city 100-150 miles away.
“I think we’re going to see in the tens of billions of dollars in market size, globally, in the early 2030s,” says industry expert Robin Riedel, of McKinsey & Company.
Regulatory certification is expected in 2024 and flight service from Orange County to L.A. by 2028.
That makes Supernal’s new offices in Irvine timely, says Shin, adding: “We are poised to redefine transportation and shape the future of advanced air mobility.”