Honeywell has formed a new business unit dedicated to the growing Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industries, comprising technology, software, services and certification expertise.
“Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems will play an increasing role in the future of aerospace, with potential applications in all-electric urban air taxi vehicles, hybrid-electric unmanned cargo drones, optionally piloted airplanes, delivery drones and everything in between,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO of Honeywell Aerospace.
“Honeywell has already contributed many technological advancements to these markets, and is well-positioned to continue growing our portfolio to meet customer needs and help shape the future of autonomous aviation and urban transport,” added Madsen.
The UAS business unit is equipped with its own engineering and sales resources, and will develop the products and services uniquely required for these markets. It will also act as a systems integrator for all Honeywell products and services that could be used in this industry, including aircraft systems such as avionics, electric and hybrid-electric propulsion and thermal management, flight services such as unmanned air traffic management, and ground operations services such as predictive aircraft maintenance analytics. Beyond technology development, this business will be a single point of contact for aircraft designers or operators wishing to do business with Honeywell.
“We’re seeing the dawn of a new era in aviation,” said Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager of the UAS business. unit. “By forming this new organisation, we will be able to harness the power of our engineering resources and know-how to transform urban air taxis, drone delivery of parcels and all forms of autonomous flight from a future vision into an everyday reality.”
The new organisation will further expand Honeywell’s growing portfolio of UAM solutions, and is heavily focused on software development, driving rapid development and testing of new products. Such products include a fly-by-wire autopilot system that automatically ensures aircraft stability even if the pilot is ‘hands off’ for extended periods of time. Fymat’s team will also develop detect-and-avoid algorithms that automatically fly an aircraft around oncoming traffic, and artificial intelligence software that tracks landing zones for precise vertical landings.
The company is also collaborating with other industry leaders in the sector, such as Pipistrel, Vertical Aerospace, Volocopter and Jaunt Air Mobility. Beyond UAM, discussions are also underway with customers pursuing other unmanned flight operations, such as drone package delivery.