Hyundai Motor said on Nov. 15 that it would invest in Top Flight Technologies, an American drone company, to carry out joint research on next-generation transportation systems using high-performance drones.
The drone industry expects the global unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market to rapidly grow from US$5.6 billion in 2016 to US$12.2 billion in 2019 and US$22.1 billion in 2026.
Founded in 2014, Top Flight Technologies is a startup that specializes in developing solutions for commercial UAVs.
The company's patented hybrid drones are loaded with small gasoline engines apart from basic batteries. The gasoline engines can dramatically scale up mileage by charging the batteries during flights.
Currently, Top Flight's hybrid drones are powered by excellent long-range flight technology that enables them to fly with a 4kg cargo for over two hours and with a 10kg cargo for over an hour.
In addition, the company is building an integrated management system that provides optimal utilization according to user needs such as freight transportation, real-time inspection and surveillance services by drones.
Hyundai Motor will explore the possibility of developing new business opportunities using high-performance UAVs in cooperation with Top Flight. The Korean automaker says that if drone technology is used in transporting spare parts in areas with poor transportation such as mountain areas or moving parts inside factories, it can significantly boost productivity.
In addition, Hyundai Motor expects that it will be able to apply high-performance UAV technology to various fields such as mobility services, 3D precision map production, vehicle and component inspection, on-site safety management, and the integrated operation management of smart city facilities.