Honeywell (NYSE: HON) and Pipistrel have signed a memorandum of understanding that will bring both companies together to explore and develop solutions for the urban air mobility market. The companies will integrate Honeywell avionics, navigation, flight control systems, connectivity and other beneficial products and services onto a future Pipistrel Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) air vehicle to support fully autonomous operations in the future.
Urban air mobility is an aviation industry term for on-demand and automated passenger or cargo-carrying air transportation services, typically flown without a pilot. Urban air mobility services will bring innovative new ways for people to travel around cities and rural areas, while reducing congestion.
“This is the beginning of a long-term relationship to collectively pursue the future of urban air mobility,” said Ivo Boscarol, founder and president of Pipistrel. “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.”
Honeywell has more than 100 years of experience in pioneering aircraft technologies across every application from commercial airliners to military platforms. This century of expertise and a wealth of technology innovation in avionics, navigation, propulsion and more has positioned Honeywell to effectively collaborate with Pipistrel to lead the development of the emerging urban air mobility space.
“The urban air mobility market is an exciting space requiring innovation, but one that Honeywell is well positioned to support and grow,” said Carl Esposito, president, Electronic Solutions at Honeywell Aerospace. “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.”
Honeywell and Pipistrel will be using Honeywell’s vast experience in avionics and flight controls along with Pipistrel’s knowledge of aircraft design to support the initial phases of a demonstration program in early 2019. A schedule announcing flight demonstrations for the vehicle prototypes will be released later in the year.