Home Tech Supernal’s 120-MPH Flying Car Is as Quiet as a Dishwasher and Designed Using Bees

Supernal’s 120-MPH Flying Car Is as Quiet as a Dishwasher and Designed Using Bees

by Elijah
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Hyundai flying vehicle

The real benefit, however, is Supernal’s promise that the S-A2 will operate as quietly as a dishwasher when put into service: 65 dB in vertical take-off and landing phases and 45 dB during horizontal sailing.

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The design of the SA-2 is striking, and rightly so. Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group’s president, chief design officer and chief creative officer, gave WIRED a tour of the interior. (The brand hosted WIRED at its media event at CES and paid part of our reporter’s travel expenses.) During the tour, Donckerwolke revealed that the glazing placement on the fuselage was modeled after specific biological entities: insects.

“The DLO design (of the glass) for daylight opening tries to allow as much visibility as possible. When you fly in an airplane, you look ahead. When you fly in a helicopter or VTOL, you look down to see where you are landing – both the passengers and the pilot,” says Donckerwolke. “Biomimicry was important here.”

Photo: Alex Welsh

Donckerwolke and his team came up with a solution inspired by bees, and then based the window placement and design for the SA-2 on the heads of bees. “Then we exaggerated it dynamically, as if the bee’s head had changed due to speed.”

Generative design was also used to create the seat frames to ensure that as little metal as possible was used, reducing weight and giving the seats energy-absorbing properties to disperse the forces exerted by vertical take-off and landing.

Eight separate battery units are housed in the rear of the fuselage behind the cabin. These units are separated for safety: if one battery unit fails, the others can continue to power the vehicle. Supernal aims to achieve commercial aviation safety levels for the SA-2, which means, among other things, that in the event of a failure the aircraft will have redundant components built into not only the powertrain, but also the flight controls and avionics. Apparently the SA-2 also doesn’t require all eight propellers to work in order to fly.

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