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Hanwha Systems acquires 30% stake worth $25 mln in U.S. eVTOL developer

By Lim Chang-won Posted : December 6, 2019, 17:42 Updated : December 6, 2019, 17:42

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- Hanwha Systems, a provider of defense products and technologies in South Korea, will acquire a 30 percent stake worth $25 million in Overair, an American eVTOL company, underlining a campaign to nurture air taxis as its next growth engine. Electric and hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, or eVTOLs, are being developed in the quest for autonomous passenger air vehicles.

The acquisition of shares in Overair will be done on January 3, Hanwha Systems said Friday in a regulatory filing, adding the investment is designed "to enter the personal air vehicle (PAV) market by participating in the development of airframe by a leading PAV developer and securing technical skills." In July, the company announced a $25 million equity investment in K4 Aeronautics, a U.S. personal air vehicle developer.

PAVs, or flying cars, are emerging as a future system of travel to avoid traffic jams on urban roads as the doorstep-to-doorstep average speed for cars is predicted to degrade further. Startups as well as global giants such as Airbus, Boeing and Uber are vying to develop PAVs and autonomous air taxis.

Overair was spun off from Karem Aircraft, an American aerospace manufacturer specializing in advanced tiltrotor transport aircraft, to focus on its eVTOL air taxi, Butterfly, which uses Karem's technology to power a vectored thrust vehicle with four large rotors mounted on the wings and tail. Karem has partnered with Uber for the development of eVTOL technology.


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