Overair has announced an investment of $145 million from Hanwha Systems and Hanwha Aerospace to fly its Butterfly all-electric experimental prototype in the second half of 2023.

Hanwha will also provide electric motors and battery packs for Overair’s prototypes, as the two companies expand their R&D co-operation.

Overair co-founder and CEO Ben Tigner said: “We are well positioned to deliver sustainable aerial ridesharing to the world through the development of Butterfly, while approaching the first flight of a purpose-built prototype next year.

“We have proven Butterfly’s propulsion system and will now begin validating its ability to operate safely in real-world weather conditions, by carrying significant payloads and flying quietly.”

Butterfly is a six-seat eVTOL aircraft derived from decades of military VTOL programs to reduce sound by using four large propellers that spin slowly when hovering, and even more slowly when cruising, to allow it to operate in noise-sensitive high-density areas.

Butterfly’s Optimum Speed Propulsion (OSP) system draws only a fraction of the available motor power, giving Butterfly extra payload capacity and power margin to operate safely in challenging environmental conditions.

Hanwha Systems CEO Sungchul Eoh added: “Hanwha’s basic principle is to focus on disruptive innovation to uproot and shift market and technology trends based on its core capabilities.

“Hanwha is selecting game changing businesses with eVTOL and with our investment in Overair, we assessed that the company had the patents and core technologies to develop a highly efficient, low noise vehicle.

“We see the potential of Overair’s Optimum Speed Propulsion system and we will continue to work together to find synergies and bring this breakthrough technology to the world.”

As the company continues to work toward FAA certification, Overair is also working with NASA and Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles to develop urban air mobility (UAM) routing and infrastructure.

Earlier this month, Skyports announced that it would work with Hanwha Systems on air mobility projects that would include collaboration in infrastructure, flight services and a mobility platform.