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Hyundai Motor hires U.S. aerospace expert for UAM vehicle

09:49 February 24, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday it has hired a U.S. aerospace expert as it strives to foster its urban air mobility (UAM) business as a new growth driver.

Hyundai Motor appointed Ben Diachun, former CEO of the California-based aerospace startup Opener, as chief technology officer in the group's UAM division, the company said in a statement.

"His 20 years of experience in building revolutionary aerospace vehicles, as well as sustainable high-growth companies, is critical to our mission to develop the best and most innovative design for our UAM vehicle," Hyundai Motor President Shin Jai-won in charge of the UAM division said in the statement.

Diachun will report to Shin, a former aeronautics expert who worked at NASA in the U.S. and joined Hyundai in September 2019 to lead the UAM division.

Over the course of his career, Diachun helped develop 16 groundbreaking aerospace vehicles, including SpaceShipOne, the first commercial manned spaceship, and BlackFly, an electric personal air vehicle, the statement said.

Hyundai aims to bring its UAM vehicle to the market by 2028. UAM is a key future innovation business that can help overcome urban challenges like traffic congestion by connecting the sky and the ground.

This file photo provided by Hyundai Motor Group shows Ben Diachun, chief technology officer in the group's UAM division. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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