Hyundai Investing in Drones with Two-Hours Flight Time

As months pass, it becomes increasingly obvious that companies currently creating cars for the roads will soon be involved in designing machines for the skies. And as most are focusing on machines with human-carrying capabilities, Hyundai decided to go for a more utilitarian approach.
Hyundai to work on drones with American partner Top Flight 1 photo
Photo: Hyundai
This week, the Koreans announced a partnership with Boston-based start-up Top Flight Technologies for the research of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and their possible uses in “cargo transport, inspection services and surveillance missions for industrial sites.”

The UAVs developed by Top Flight are types of drones that have an edge over similar technologies, says Hyundai. The reason for this is the fact that they use a hybrid-electric power system instead of a battery, which gives them more airtime.

More precisely, drones powered by the company’s Micro Generator Hybrid Power System can stay airborne for two hours, which is far better than most products currently on the market as they average around 20 minutes in the air.

As for Hyundai, the carmaker will use the drones coming out of their new partnership for various tasks, including for high-definition mapping and operations and management services. Hyundai also plans to use the drones to further advance its business and get a strong foothold on the mobility market that has accelerated tremendously in recent years.

"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 in a statement John Suh, head of Hyundai’s Center for Robotic-Augmented Design in Living Experiences (CRADLE).

The drone market alone, which Hyundai targets with this move, is predicted to grow to a value of $22.1 billion by the year 2026, the Koreans say without saying how they reached this figure.

Neither Hyundai nor Top Flight set a timeframe for a final product to be presented.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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