(Corrects company name to ‘Hyundai Motor Group’ in paragraph 1)
By Allison Lampert and Abhijith Ganapavaram
(Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Group’s air taxi unit has picked aerospace supplier Honeywell International Inc to develop avionics systems for its eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, the companies said, ahead of an announcement next week.
Under the collaboration, Honeywell will work with Supernal, Hyundai’s U.S.-based eVTOL firm, to explore integration of the aerospace supplier’s ‘Anthem’ flight deck into the air taxis, which are slated to enter commercial service in 2028.
Electric air taxi-makers worldwide have pitched themselves as clean alternatives to decongest cities, attracting investments from airline heavyweights such as Delta Air Lines Inc, though they are still a long way away from commercial operations.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still in the process of drawing up certification rules for these futuristic aircraft, given the jets work as helicopters when taking off and landing, and as airplanes when flying.
“We want to see the FAA come out with its set of certification rules, quickly. Well thought out, but quickly (and) that those rules are harmonized with those of EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency),” Honeywell vice president of Urban Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems Stephane Fymat told Reuters in an interview.
The challenges of securing certification and funding innovations such as fresh battery technology have weighed on the new sector this year.
Honeywell’s collaboration with Supernal is its first with an air taxi firm established by an automaker. The company, which is a big supplier to Boeing Co and Airbus SE, also has investments in other eVTOL firms – Lilium, Vertical Aerospace and Volocopter.
Honeywell would consider investing further in the eVTOL sector, Fymat said.
The company expects the overall market for air taxis to be about $120 billion per year by 2030, Fymat added.
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Abhijith Ganapavaram in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)