Smart mobility service provider Supernal has announced a collaboration with Microsoft to advance autonomy, digital operations and cloud integration technologies for the aviation industry by running Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) on the Microsoft cloud platform.
With Microsoft Azure, Supernal can leverage the flexibility and cloud computing power needed to run secure simulations at scale and accelerate its timeline to commercialisation.
Formed by the Hyundai Motor Group in 2021, Supernal is developing a family of electric air vehicles and convening public and private stakeholders to responsibly shape the emerging AAM industry.
"In ushering in a new frontier of transportation with AAM, Supernal has an obligation to ensure safe and secure deployment of eVTOL vehicles," said Dr Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. "We are pleased to collaborate with Microsoft, a software leader, in responsibly advancing AAM autonomous systems and information-sharing."
AI-powered platform to enable building, testing and training of autonomous air vehicles
During the initial phase of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide Supernal early access to Project AirSim, an artificial intelligence (AI)-first simulation platform, to safely build, test, train and validate autonomous aircraft transportation through simulation. Project AirSim uses Azure to generate significant amounts of environment and sensory data to train machine learning models that simulate all phases of flight and variable weather patterns. Project AirSim provides libraries of pre-trained AI models and planet-scale 3D environments representing urban and rural landscapes, as well as a partner ecosystem offering synthetic data generation to help accelerate aerial autonomy.
In addition, Supernal is looking to use the Microsoft mixed-reality headset—HoloLens 2—to create augmented reality (AR) applications for future vehicle and manufacturing operations. AR resources could enable efficiencies in future AAM manufacturing and maintenance by providing technicians visual feedback during routine actions and bring engineering support virtually on-site.
Microsoft is a critical ecosystem partner for Supernal to usher complete smart city infrastructure to markets, creating a seamless approach to the customer journey.
"Air transport is a key pillar in the democratisation of mobility, connecting more people, goods and places through safe flight experiences," said Ulrich Homann, Corporate Vice President Cloud + AI at Microsoft. "With the Microsoft Cloud, Supernal can unlock the computing power it takes to build, validate, and deploy electric air vehicles at scale, spurring the commercialisation of advanced air mobility solutions."