Flying taxi trials to take off in Nusantara on July, authority says

The flying taxi, manufactured by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and Hyundai Motors Company, is set to be showcased during the Independence Day ceremony in August.

Aditya Hadi

Aditya Hadi

The Jakarta Post


The Optionally Piloted Personal/Passenger Air Vehicle flying taxi, manufactured by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute and Hyundai Motors Company, is seen in this undated photo. A fleet of these taxis is plannned to be the future transportation method in the new capital city of Nusantara. PHOTO: KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE/THE JAKARTA POST

May 31, 2024

JAKARTA – The Nusantara Capital City (IKN) Authority is set to begin trialing flying taxis in July, which it envisions as the future transportation of the planned new capital in East Kalimantan, following a shipment of a South Korean air vehicle to the neighboring city of Balikpapan on May 9.

The Optionally Piloted Personal/Passenger Air Vehicle (OPPAV) flying taxi is manufactured by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) and Hyundai Motors Company (HMC).

The government has set its Independence Day celebration to be held in Nusantara on Aug. 17 and plans to showcase the flying taxi during the ceremony.

“We will open [the cargo] next week to assemble it, then we can test it,” IKN Authority head Bambang Susantono said in a statement on Wednesday.

The arrival follows a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the IKN Authority and Hyundai to develop an Advanced Air Mobility ecosystem in Indonesia during the Business 20 (B20) Summit in 2022.

“We will test it first and then evaluate the results to determine whether it performs well or not. We will conduct a technical evaluation of the performance, and I hope our academic colleagues can be involved in the process,” Bambang explained.

Ali Berawi, IKN Authority undersecretary for green and digital transformation, said on Monday that the trial would be conducted for a month starting July at APT Pranoto Airport in Samarinda, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nusantara.

When the trial period concludes, Hyundai plans to establish the commercial business model through Supernal, its subsidiary focused on urban air mobility. The firm will also continue developing the technology to make it autonomous.

Ali explained that Hyundai’s flying taxi had a capacity of five people, larger than a similar model tested last year by China-based EHang, which could only serve two people.

The South Korean unit also has a higher maximum speed and farther flying range and uses a battery as its main energy source, which the government deems better for the environment.

“The battery can cover up to 100 kilometers in one flight, with a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour. So, if we want to travel to other cities, there’s no need to take a detour to Jakarta or Makassar first. We can travel direct,” Ali said as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Besides the availability of flying cars, the government also wants to mandate all vehicles in IKN to be based on hydrogen, also known as fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs), after 2040 with an interim goal of 50 percent of vehicles to meet that target by 2035.

The move appears to mark a shift from its initial focus on battery-based EVs, which President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had initially stated on many occasions as the desired low-emission mobility option for the city.

Battery and fuel cell EVs use a similar propulsion system, but the former uses onboard batteries to store energy to power its electric motors, whereas the latter stores energy as hydrogen that gets converted to electricity by the fuel cell.

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