Vertical Aerospace and Lilium will incorporate Honeywell’s newly unveiled Anthem flight deck into their respective eVTOL air taxis, the companies revealed this week.
Pitched as the first aircraft cockpit system to offer always-on cloud connectivity, Anthem is powered by a customizable software platform that Honeywell says makes it an option for “virtually every type of aircraft and flying vehicle.” Its selection for use in Vertical Aerospace’s VA-X4, as well as in the seven-seat Lilium Jet, indicates strong interest in Anthem from the emerging urban air mobility (UAM) sector.
“One of the many great things about Honeywell Anthem is its ability to fit any aircraft — both literally and figuratively,” Stephane Fymat, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president and general manager, Urban Air Mobility and Unmanned Aerial Systems, stated in a press release. “It’s scalable and customizable, meaning we can bring this into almost anything that’s currently flying or will fly in the future. That’s great news particularly for our UAM customers.”
Supported by ground-based servers, Anthem’s cloud connectivity allows pilots to upload flight plans remotely, and engineers to download maintenance status and other data from an aircraft without being physically near it. Anthem’s web browser makes it possible to use third-party applications and websites in the cockpit, enabling pilots to monitor live weather cameras, for example. The digital display can be easily reconfigured to meet a pilot’s needs or preferences, much like a personal smart device.
Anthem also integrates with Honeywell Forge, a software platform offering solutions for flight operations, flight efficiency, and connected maintenance. Honeywell said Anthem is designed to support increasing levels of aircraft autonomy, ultimately leading to fully autonomous capabilities as future regulations allow.
Discussing Anthem’s unveiling on Oct. 5, Honeywell president and CEO Mike Madsen said: “Honeywell is not just launching a new flight deck today — we are changing the way pilots operate aircraft and creating a more intuitive experience than ever. In the same way we moved from flip phones to smartphones, Honeywell Anthem will transform the pilot experience with customizable controls operated quickly and easily with a few swipes of the finger.”
Honeywell also touted Anthem’s 2K resolution displays, which it said will allow aircraft manufacturers “to achieve new, modern aesthetics comparable to those in the high-end automotive market.” The company said Anthem’s incorporation of visualization and modern graphics will make the flight deck “much easier to use and more fun to fly” — features that will likely play into the UAM industry’s vision for simplified vehicle operations in the future.
According to Vipul Gupta, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president and general manager, Avionics, “Honeywell Anthem is going to bring us closer to our shared industry goals of better pilot experiences and more autonomous flight.”
Vertical Aerospace and Lilium have strong pre-existing relationships with Honeywell. Both companies are using Honeywell’s compact fly-by-wire system in their eVTOL aircraft, and Honeywell is also an investor in Lilium.