Hanwha Systems will make a foray into the air taxi market. The company announced on Dec. 8 that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has finally approved its US$25 million investment in Overair (formerly known as K4 Aeronautics), a leading air taxi company. Hanwha Systems will have a 30 percent stake in Overair.
With the approval of the investment proposal, Overair will take on the development of its personal aircraft “Butterfly.” Hanwha Systems will participate in Butterfly development.
Butterfly is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft optimized for urban mobility service requirements. It is based on optimum speed rotor technology to reduce noise and increase efficiency. The current battery capacity allows the Butterfly to fly 100 km or longer at 240 km/h or faster with four passengers and one pilot on board. Abe Karem, an aviation expert with experience of designing 14 flying machines and founder of Karem Aircraft and co-founder of Overair will serve as the chief technical officer (CTO) of Overair.
Earlier, Hanwha Systems announced in July that it would cooperate with Overair to enter the air taxi market. Overair was spun off from vertical takeoff and landing machine company Karem Aircraft for the air taxi business and is one of the key partners of Uber Elevate, which is being promoted by Uber.
Overair and Hanwha Systems will develop the Butterfly for civilian transportation systems with the aim of receiving a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.
In addition, Hanwha Systems plans to expand its investment in Overair and seek opportunities in the Korean personal air vehicle (PAV) sector. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy are also participating in the task of developing private autonomous aircraft.