Honda Motor Company has introduced new technology initiatives as part of its 2030 Vision, which includes the development of an eVTOL aircraft.
The Japanese automotive manufacturer says this direction leads to the fulfilment of Honda’s 2030 Vision of serving people worldwide with the ‘joy of expanding their life’s potential’. In a press release, Honda added it is ‘thoroughly committed to contributing to the realisation of society with zero environmental impact, zero traffic collisions and new initiatives that enable it to take on challenges in new areas.’
As well as the eVTOL aircraft, the new areas also include an avatar robot with the goal to expand the range of human ability and a new challenge in the field of outer space.
Keiji Ohtsu, President and Representative Director of Honda R&D Co., Ltd, said: “All of the initiatives we introduced today are for the challenges Honda takes on in new areas, but the underlying passion of Honda to use our technology to make people’s lives more enjoyable remains unchanged.
“Ever since the company’s founding, the wellspring of Honda’s challenges has always been the people at Honda who generate original technologies and ideas. Through the creation of new mobility, Honda will continue striving to change the value people place on mobility and make positive changes to our society.”
The company is leveraging its electrification technologies for its gas turbine hybrid power unit, which will extend the aircraft’s range and enable it to provide passengers with city-to-city transportation. Honda will also create a new ‘mobility ecosystem’, with the aircraft at its core and connected. with mobility products on the ground.
No further specification details about the aircraft, such as cruise speed, range and passenger capacity have been revealed.
Honda’s entry into the eVTOL aircraft and urban air mobility markets represents another automotive giant looking to compete with the likes of Archer, Joby Aviation, Lilium, Volocopter and Vertical Aerospace. Other notable examples include Toyota, which has invested in Joby, Rolls-Royce, which is already producing a range of propulsion units for electric aircraft and Stellantis – formerly Fiat Chrysler – is partnering with Archer.
In addition to clean operation realized by electrification technologies, Honda has said its eVTOL aircraft will meet safety levels equivalent to that of commercial aviation, realised by its simple structure and decentralised propulsive system and quietness due to relatively small diameter of rotors.
Honda says this makes it possible for the eVTOL aircraft to take off and land in the middle of a city without causing noise issues. To address the current issue of limited battery capacity and realise user-friendly inter-city transportation with longer range, Honda will leverage its electrification technologies and develop Honda eVTOL equipped with a gas turbine hybrid power unit.
In addition to electrification technologies, Honda’s eVTOL aircraft will feature technologies Honda has amassed in a number of different areas such as combustion, aerodynamics and control technologies.