Southfield-based automotive supplier Denso and aerospace manufacturer Honeywell of North Carolina are joining forces to develop hybrid-electric and fully electric propulsion systems for urban air mobility.
Urban air mobility includes on-demand and automated air transportation services – which eventually will be fully autonomous and flown without pilots – for passenger or cargo-carrying use.
By combining their respective automotive and aerospace expertise, the companies say they are seeking to create propulsion systems that make air travel cleaner, quieter, more efficient, and easier to maintain.
Urban air mobility is intended to provide more efficient movement of people and things within cities to improve safety and decrease ground traffic. It also offers opportunities in sustainability as major advancements in materials, generators, and motors are making electric-powered flight possible, practical, and affordable.
“The pressure to mitigate the environmental and economic impact of aviation will only grow in the years ahead as air passenger traffic increases and urbanization continues,” says Bryan Wood, senior director of hybrid-electric and electric propulsion at Honeywell Aerospace.
“Knowing the challenges we face, we’re working with Denso to create a new future for aviation propulsion. Aircrafts powered by hybrid-electric and electric architectures have incredible benefits, including being cleaner and quieter as well as more fuel efficient and reliable, and easier to maintain.”
Denso says it believes that collaboration between the automotive and aerospace industries is crucial to make urban air mobility services a safe and scalable reality in cities across the globe in the next decade.
It brings to the table decades of experience in developing and producing electrified propulsion units, including traction motors and inverters, at high-mass production volume.