Electric airplane maker Pipistrel have recently partnered with multinational conglomerate company Honeywell to design a new electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) autonomous aircraft in an attempt to get passengers off of the congested city streets.
According to Honeywell, their partnership with Pipistrel will allow both companies to work towards developing brand new urban air mobility solutions. Honeywell has defined urban air mobility services as an aviation industry term for on-demand and automated passenger or cargo-carrying air transportation service that allows people to travel safely around cities and rural areas while reducing congestion.
The Pipistrel Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) autonomous aircraft currently being developed will integrate Honeywell avionics, navigation, flight control systems, connectivity and other beneficial products and services to support fully autonomous operations in the future. Honeywell has even released a brief video overview for their urban air mobility project, which you can view below.
Ivo Boscarol, founder and president of Pipistrel, commented on the recent announcement, stating:
“This is the beginning of a long-term relationship to collectively pursue the future of urban air mobility. Honeywell’s expertise in integrated avionics and flight control systems, systems integration, certification, and manufacturing, combined with our capabilities in designing and developing advanced light aircraft, makes us the perfect pairing to advance the urban air mobility market. Pipistrel was chosen to be one of Uber’s vehicle development partners for its urban mobility solution, and our VTOL air vehicle features next-generation propulsion technology for achieving embedded lift. We have the concept that unlocks a cost-attractive electric VTOL opportunity by addressing efficiency and noise hurdles in vehicle lift, hover and cruise stages of flight.”
Carl Esposito, President of Electronic Solutions at Honeywell Aerospace, added:
“The urban air mobility market is an exciting space requiring innovation, but one that Honeywell is well positioned to support and grow. Companies looking to make breakthroughs in urban air mobility face a wide range of technical, safety, certification and business challenges that come with developing a new mode of travel in an already dense air traffic environment. An understanding of the aerospace complexities and a legacy of innovative technologies can make all the difference in addressing this emerging market. Pipistrel is a well-known leader in the light aircraft space, and this is an excellent opportunity to support its vision of a future VTOL aircraft with our industry-leading avionics, flight control systems, and other potential products and services.”
Both companies stated that initial demonstration program phases for the autonomous aircraft will begin early this year with actual flight demonstrations for the aircraft prototype following in 2020.