Honeywell has boosted its stake in the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft sector with an investment in artificial intelligence specialist Daedalean. The U.S. aircraft systems group will work with the Switzerland-based start-up to develop for light fixed-wing and eVTOL aircraft an AI-based system that will support autonomous takeoff and landings, as well as a vision-based navigation and collision avoidance capability that does not depend on GPS.
Under an agreement announced on November 15, Honeywell Ventures is making an undisclosed investment in Daedalean, which as of July 2019 had raised $12 million in funding. “Developing flight control software requires lots of flight data,” commented Daedalean CEO Luuk van Dijk. “That’s why the collaboration with prominent industry partners such as Honeywell is critical for us to speed up the development of our technology. We are preparing for the joint flight testing of our solutions for various types of aircraft and are excited to carry out flight trials on the planes we haven’t tried before.”
As well as supporting the operation of fully autonomous eVTOL aircraft in controlled airspace, Daedalean believes its technology could also benefit piloted aircraft. It says its systems will be able to process visual images in a way that is similar to human situational awareness, allowing pilots to give more attention to safety-critical oversight of flights.