Hyundai will partner with a hybrid-electric unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specialist to explore ways to accelerate the commercial application and deployment of the mobility platform.
Hyundai said that it is teaming up with Boston-based startup Top Flight Technologies to embark on joint efforts to cultivate new business opportunities around UAVs, leveraging Top Flight’s patented hybrid-electric power system.
Potential areas for business development include cargo transport, inspection services and surveillance missions for industrial sites.
Hyundai Motor Company’s vice president of Hyundai CRADLE, John Suh, said: "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.
“Hyundai Motor continues to invest in companies that develop disruptive technologies that are in-line with Hyundai’s current and future strategic thinking.”
Top Flight’s proprietary hybrid-electric power system is instrumental in developing optimized 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.
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.
Top Flight Technologies’ chief executive, Dr Long Phan, said: “Hyundai Motor Company’s investment in Top Flight confirms its commitment to autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions, whether on the road or in the air.
“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."