Hyundai Motor Co. has announced a strategic partnership with Top Flight Technologies Inc., a start-up developing hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies.
Hyundai will team up with the Boston-based company to explore ways to accelerate the commercial deployment of UAVs across various sectors: e.g., cargo transport, inspection services and surveillance for industrial sites.
Top Flight’s proprietary hybrid-electric power system allows for extended flight times and heavier payloads, says Hyundai. 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 start-up also offers a number of scalable UAV solutions, including the 3D Real-Time Simulation Environment & Fleet Management System, which provides product development tools, and the Remote Location Operation Console, which enables simultaneous operation of multiple UAVs.
“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,” states John Suh, vice president of Hyundai CRADLE (Center for Robotic-augmented Design in Living Experiences) at Hyundai Motor Co. “Hyundai Motor continues to invest in companies that develop disruptive technologies that are in line with Hyundai’s current and future strategic thinking.”
“Hyundai Motor Co.’s investment in Top Flight confirms its commitment to autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions, whether on the road or in the air,” adds Dr. Long Phan, CEO of Top Flight Technologies. “We fully believe that Hyundai’s world-class assembly and automation capabilities will help spur the production and deployment of aerospace-grade UAVs more efficiently than ever.”
Hyundai’s partnership with Top Flight is an example of the automaker’s efforts to advance its “Open Innovation” strategy, which aims to drive innovation that will enhance the company’s foothold in the future mobility market.