Multinational aerospace conglomerate Honeywell has launched a new business unit dedicated to unmanned aerial systems and urban air mobility.

Unmanned aerial vehicles are aircrafts that operate without a human pilot onboard, used for an number of different purposes including, in the case of urban air mobility, transporting human passengers. According to Marketwatch, the global urban air mobility market is predicted to be worth more than $15.22bn by 2024.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen renewed interest in autonomous solutions as a way of limiting contact between individuals and delivering goods and medical supplies to those in their homes.

Honeywell is a leading provider of systems for urban air taxi and cargo vehicles and has collaborated with others in the industry including Pipistrel, Vertical Aerospace, Volocopter and Jaunt Air Mobility.

Honeywell has said that the new unit is intended to use its “technology, software, services and certification expertise to meet customers’ needs in these markets.”

“Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems will play an increasing role in the future of aerospace, with potential applications in all-electric urban air taxi vehicles, hybrid-electric unmanned cargo drones, optionally piloted airplanes, delivery drones and everything in between,” said Mike Madsen, president and CEO, Honeywell Aerospace.

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“Honeywell has already contributed many technological advancements to these markets, and is well positioned to continue growing our portfolio to meet customer needs and help shape the future of autonomous aviation and urban transport.”

Honeywell ramps up urban air mobility, drone efforts

The new unit will use Honeywell’s “technology, software, services and certification expertise” to develop new products and services for the unmanned aerial systems and urban air mobility markets.

It will also be a way for Honeywell’s existing products and services that could be used in the industry. This could include a “fly-by-wire system” that automatically ensured an aircraft is stable, an algorithm that automatically flies the aircraft around oncoming traffic and software for precise vertical landings.

The unit is also intended as a point of contact between aircraft designers and operators and Honeywell.

“We’re seeing the dawn of a new era in aviation, and Honeywell is at the forefront,” said Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager of the newly formed business.

“By forming this new organisation, we will be able to harness the power of our engineering resources and know-how to transform urban air taxis, drone delivery of parcels and all forms of autonomous flight from a future vision into an everyday reality.”

Read more: Skyports and Thales parter to deliver Covid-19 testing kits via drone.