Hanwha Systems has announced that it will co-develop an air taxi with Overair Inc., a U.S. personal air vehicle (PAV) company. According to Hanwha Systems, the company attended the opening ceremony of Overair in Los Angeles, California, on February 14 and announced that it will participate in the joint development of air taxis in full-scale.
Some attendees of the ceremony include Hanwha Systems CEO Kim Yeon-chul, Overair CEO Ben Tigner and senior designer Abe Karem, attended the opening ceremony.
Starting with the opening ceremony, Hanwha Systems will join the joint development of Overair’s PAV, “Butterfly.” Until now, Hanwha Systems has accumulated technical skills for aviation electronics and ICT (Information Communication Technology). It is expected to develop PAVs armed with performance, price, design, advanced automatic flight, and safety.
The Butterfly is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) optimized for urban aerial mobility services. The aircraft was conceptualized with noise reduction and efficiency in mind; the Butterfly is currently able to fly 100 kilometers at 240 km/hr (60 miles at 150 mph) or faster with five people — four passengers and one pilot — on board.
Hanwha Systems officially entered the urban aerial mobility market as of Dec. 8th of last year, when the CFIUS approved Hanwha’s $25 million USD investment in Overair. The two companies agreed to develop the Butterfly for civilian transportation systems with the aim of receiving a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. Hanwha Systems is also looking to expand its investment in Overair with the intention of spreading into the South Korean personal air vehicle (PAV) sector, which is gaining traction with the Korean Ministries of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, Trade, Industry, and Energy.
Overair is a spin-off from the eVTOL technology company Karem Aircraft and is one of the named partners of the Uber Elevate air taxi project. Abe Karem, an aviation expert with experience in designing 14 flying machines was founder of Karem Aircraft and is now co-founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Overair.
Hanwha Systems is planning to establish cooperation channels with Overair through its PAV task force, and to explore all-round business opportunities, starting with the joint development of PAVs and expanding cooperative ties with leading domestic and foreign companies.
“While the era of self-driving cars has recently opened and related technologies have been rapidly evolving, competition among global leading companies to enter the PAV market is accelerating,” said CEO Kim of Hanwha Systems. “At this time, Hanwha Systems is taking part in the joint development to preempt the PAV market, and we will further expand our business into the future aviation and electronics sectors.”
Why it’s important: The urban aviation industry has lately seen rapid growth in the number of multi-national investment deals and partnerships for the development and operation of new vehicles. Bell, subsidiary of Textron Inc, has partnered with Sumitomo Corp. and Japan Airlines as part of its mobility-as-a-service offerings, and Airbus recently secured a deal to lay the foundations for potential services with both passenger and larger cargo carrying air vehicles throughout Singapore. These collaborations are thought to be instrumental in the expedient implementation of urban aviation technology across the globe, and have already demonstrated success through milestones such as Volocopter’s first urban manned flight in Singapore last year.
Source // Korea IT Times