Electric aviation leader Pipistrel has chosen to use Honeywell’s compact fly-by-wire system, designed for use on smaller urban air mobility systems, for its Nuuva V300 autonomous cargo aircraft.
The Nuuva V300, announced by Pipistrel in September, is a hybrid-electric VTOL designed to carry up to 300 kilograms (661 pounds) a range of 300 kilometers (186 miles) using eight lifting rotors and one pushing rotor. With a prototype of the V300 currently under development, Pipistrel is currently taking orders with plans for entry into service in the second half of 2023 and to manufacture “several hundreds” per year, according to Composites World.
“After years of excellent cooperation in the UAM sector, we chose to work with Honeywell in the development of the Nuuva V300 as well,” said Ivo Boscarol, founder and CEO of Pipistrel Group. “We see this cargo aircraft paving the way for the passenger-carrying Pipistrel 801, our proposed air taxi for Uber Elevate, as both aircraft share similar architectures. Honeywell’s expertise and the proven capabilities of its Compact Fly-By-Wire system will provide airliner levels of safety for our novel air vehicles.”
A smaller version Nuuva V20, with payload capacity up to 20 kg (44 lb.) intended for last-mile delivery, is under development by Pipistrel as well, with first deliveries planned as early as 2021.
Pipistrel was one of the vehicle developers to commit to Uber Elevate’s aerial ridesharing vision with its 801 eVTOL air taxi design, for which it also intends to use multiple Honeywell products, but the company has shifted its focus to Nuuva, seeing cargo as the more promising application in the near term.
“We keep both projects in parallel, which allows the use of the same development methodology and tools for both vehicles,” the company said in a statement on May 15, explaining it has not halted development on the air taxi project.
Honeywell’s fly-by-wire system has also been incorporated by British eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace and Israeli electric fixed-wing startup Eviation.