Radar platform company Echodyne has entered into a strategic agreement with, and received minority investment from, Supernal, Hyundai Motor Group's advanced air mobility (AAM) company. Supernal is developing an eVTOL vehicle and is targeting launch of commercial flights in 2028. The collaboration between the two companies will focus on how to leverage Echodyne's market-leading radars to enhance safety in Supernal's vehicle and across ground-based operations.
"Echodyne offers unique radar-based detection capabilities that Supernal can utilise in advanced air mobility development," says Supernal chief technology officer Ben Diachun. "Resilient and powerful radar aids airborne situational awareness to improve safety in the air."
The partnership spans the AAM ecosystem, from onboard systems for in-flight situational awareness to ground-based solutions for enhanced operational clarity in dense airspace, such as vertiports, flight areas and corridors. In the air, the Echodyne radar will provide all-weather airspace monitoring for advanced vehicles like Supernal's in the near-term, and potential automated applications in the future. On the ground, the radar will deliver situational awareness data that complements the airborne radar, further enhancing the safety case and surpassing any product in its weight class. Echodyne and Supernal's collaboration will help the fast-developing AAM industry achieve the highest aviation industry safety benchmarks.
"Supernal is reimagining airborne mobility with the same 'safety above all' mentality we have here at Echodyne," says CEO Eben Frankenberg. "As its team continues to shape the future of the advanced air mobility market, we are pleased Supernal recognises the value of radar as it tracks towards market entry. The AAM market is another long-term global market where we have a significant technology advantage, and this partnership demonstrates our intention to remain a significant contributor to airspace safety solutions across the industry."
Echodyne serves customers across the defence, national security, critical infrastructure protection, uncrewed aircraft systems and advanced air mobility markets worldwide. Its commercial radars, built on proprietary metamaterials electronic scanning array (MESA) technology, are US designed, manufactured and globally available under US Commerce Department export control regulations.
As part of its 'open ecosystem' approach to addressing emerging technology needs of AAM, Supernal has also partnered with Inmarsat to define the application of satellite connectivity. Together, the companies will conduct testing and data sharing to optimise hardware and network systems, which will lead to the safe and efficient integration of eVTOL vehicles into the airspace.
During vehicle testing, Supernal will connect its eVTOL to Inmarsat's Velaris satcom service to assess capabilities such as aircraft state and telemetry monitoring. Velaris builds on Inmarsat's vast three decade experience in air traffic management communications and is powered by its high resilience ELERA global satellite communications network.
"Supernal is pleased to collaborate with Inmarsat to test the feasibility of integrating space-based and terrestrial data links to serve the advanced air mobility industry," says Diachun.
The partnership signifies the importance of highly reliable and secure satellite communications as part of the design and certification of eVTOL platforms.
"Inmarsat is excited to be working with Supernal to lead the conversation around connectivity and communications for UAV, eVTOL and UAM vehicles," adds senior vice president of aircraft operations and safety Joel Klooster. "We can deliver the safety services required to allow these vehicles to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations and continually improve the customer experience."