Hanwha Systems will co-develop air taxi with Overair Inc., a U.S. personal air vehicle (PAV) company.
According to Hanwha Systems on Feb. 16, the company attended the opening ceremony of Overair in Los Angeles, California, on Feb. 14 (Korean time) and announced that it will participate in the joint development of air taxis in full-scale.
Some 30 people, including Hanwha Systems CEO Kim Yeon-chul, Overair CEO Ben Tigner and senior designer Abe Karem, attended the opening ceremony.
Starting with the opening ceremony, Hanwha Systems will join the joint development of Overair’s PAV, "Butterfly." Until now, Hanwha Systems has accumulated technical skills for aviation electronics and ICT (Information Communication Technology). It is expected to develop PAVs armed with performance, price, design, advanced automatic flight, and safety.
Hanwha Systems announced last year that it would enter the air taxi market as part of its search for new future businesses. Since then, it has invested about 30 billion won in Overair, which has PAV expertise, to receive final approval from the U.S. Foreign Investment Review Board. It also received approval for Deemed Export License from the U.S. Bureau of Industrial Security (BIS) in January this year.
Overair is a spin-off from Karem Aircraft, one of the key partners of "Uber Elevate," which is being pursued by global ride-sharing service company Uber. Karem Aircraft is a VTOL specialist and has a number of patents and licenses that can implement air taxi with "high efficiency" and "low noise."
Hanwha Systems is planning to establish cooperation channels with Overair through its PAV task force, and to explore all-round business opportunities, starting with the joint development of PAVs and expanding cooperative ties with leading domestic and foreign companies.
"While the era of self-driving cars has recently opened and related technologies have been rapidly evolving, competition among global leading companies to enter the PAV market is accelerating," said CEO Kim of Hanwha Systems. "At this time, Hanwha Systems is taking part in the joint development to preempt the PAV market, and we will further expand our business into the future aviation and electronics sectors."