Echodyne, a Kirkland, Washington-based radar platform company, has announced a new partnership with Supernal, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group. The partnership is focused on advancing the safety of Supernal’s electric-powered, vertical-takeoff-and-landing air vehicle (eVTOL) and its associated ground-based systems. Under the agreement, Supernal will make a minority investment in Echodyne, although the exact amount has not been disclosed.
Supernal is developing an eVTOL air transport system that could go into service as early as 2028, and the new collaboration with Echodyne is expected to play a crucial role in achieving this goal. Echodyne’s radar system is expected to be used for in-flight situational awareness and ground-based tracking installations around vertiports and flight corridors. The partnership adds to Supernal’s existing collaborations with Microsoft, BAE Systems, Honeywell, and other companies on the development of an air transport system.
Echodyne, founded in 2014, is one of several spin-offs from Intellectual Ventures, based in Bellevue, Washington. The company raised $135 million in a funding round co-led by Bill Gates and Baillie Gifford in 2020, bringing the total investment to $195 million. Echodyne’s unique radar-based detection capabilities are now expected to play an integral role in Supernal’s Advanced Air Mobility development, according to Ben Diachun, Supernal’s chief technology officer.
The partnership with Supernal adds to Echodyne’s existing collaborations with major players in the technology and aviation industries. The company’s radar technology has already been used in a variety of applications, from air traffic control to drone detection. The partnership with Supernal represents an important step forward in the development of its emerging aerial mobility and eVTOL markets, with a focus on enhancing safety and reliability, and advancing technological capabilities.
The timeline for commercial operations of Supernal’s aircraft will depend on the development timeline of flight technologies as well as the establishment of a regulatory system for advanced air mobility by the Federal Aviation Administration, as pioneered by Joby Aviation. Nevertheless, the collaboration between a real-world tested company like Echodyne and Supernal is an encouraging step forward for this market, as companies continue to invest in research and development to create safe, reliable, and efficient air mobility solutions.
Why it’s important: The collaboration between Supernal and Echodyne is expected to significantly advance the safety and effectiveness of Supernal’s developing air mobility system. As the industry continues to gain momentum, partnerships like these with major companies are likely to become increasingly important in achieving the goal of widespread adoption of eVTOL technology in the near future.
Source // Supernal // Echodyne