Hyundai Motor has formed a “strategic partnership” with Top Flight Technologies, a startup in hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies, in the latest automaker move in an attempt to position itself for unknown as future mobility solutions. Potential areas for business development include cargo transport, inspection services and surveillance missions for industrial sites.
The Boston-based startup and Korean Hyundai will “explore ways to accelerate the commercial application and deployment of UAVs across various sectors and markets. Joint efforts will extend to seeking new business opportunities around UAVs, using Top Flight’s patented hybrid-electric power system. The global UAV (aka ‘drones’) market, is growing at a fast pace, expected to garner $22.1 billion by 2026.
Top Flight’s hybrid-electric power system is claimed to be key in developing solutions for UAV-centered business models, as it allows for extended flight times and heavier payloads for commercial use. Drones powered by the Top Flight Micro Generator Hybrid Power System can stay airborne for up to two hours, while carrying a load of four kilograms.
The American startup also offers an array of “scalable UAV solutions,” including a “3D Real-time Simulation Environment & Fleet Management System,” which provides product development tools and a “Remote Location Operation Console” that enables simultaneous operation of multiple UAV units.
Hyundai also seeks to enhance its existing operations with the application of drone products and technologies ― particularly high-definition (HD) mapping and operations and management (O&M) services. (No word on suitability for North Korean nuclear warheads – grin)
“In addition to solving the challenges of longer-duration flight for quadcopters, Top Flight is developing the technologies needed to enable new solutions in aerial logistics and mapping which could be useful in Hyundai’s future business,” said John Suh, Vice President of Hyundai CRADLE at Hyundai Motor Company.
Hyundai’s partnership with Top Flight is another example of all auto company’s strivings to enhance a foothold in the future mobility market, whatever that means. From technologies such as autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, to ride-sharing Hyundai Motor and competitors are building a network of firms that can contribute to the development of innovative mobility services.
Founded in 2014, Top Flight Technologies specializes in hybrid-electric power systems and fully autonomous technologies for UAVs. The company has several partners across aerospace, transportation, agriculture, and many other industries.