January 30, 2020
TDK Ventures invests in electric air mobility company AutoFlightX
An electric vertical take-off and landing company, AutoFlightX is TDK Ventures’ fourth investment from their $50 million CVC fund.
AutoFlightX is an eVTOL air-cargo and air-taxi company headquartered in Munich, with R&D centers in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.
AutoFlightX looks forward to leveraging TDK Corporation’s deep expertise in consumer- and aviation-grade inertial sensors, high-density battery solutions and battery management systems, as well as power electronics, in addition to TDK’s global reach.
TDK Corporation (TSE: 6762) announces that subsidiary TDK Ventures Inc. has added to its growing portfolio of companies with its investment in AutoFlightX, a world leader in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air mobility. AutoFlightX is the fourth investment by the TDK corporate venture capital (CVC) fund since its July 2019 launch with a mission to invest in innovative startups focusing on digital and energy transformation and contributing to sustainability.
“TDK’s multi-dimensional core competency in sensors, energy and power makes them our strongest partner so far,” CEO and founder of AutoFlightX Tian Yu said. “As we look into the horizon of tomorrow’s mobility, we are committed to bringing high-endurance eVTOL vehicles with the best reliability and safety. We are thrilled to have TDK as our partner because they are world leaders in commercializing advanced technologies and supporting hard-tech entrepreneurs like us.”
According to TDK Ventures’ Managing Director Nicolas Sauvage, the CVC sought companies that combine avionics and drone expertise with strong unit economics, paired with solid business models in the eVTOL space. For TDK Ventures, the ideal company would unlock a spectrum of use cases in inspection, cargo delivery and emergency responses, all without requiring an installed charging infrastructure base.
AutoFlightX’s 50 kg platform can carry payloads of up to 20 kg and has a flight time of two to five hours continuous cruise. The company also has a pipeline of platforms that will carry up to 300 kg and can fly two to five hours, depending on the payload.
“We believe AutoFlightX’s innovations reflect a combination of the best consumer drone talent from China paired with the aviation engineering rigor of Germany,” Sauvage noted.
Tian Yu, who is the former founder and CEO of Yuneec, started AutoFlightX in 2018 with a vision to transform air mobility. Yu subsequently assembled a world-class team of more than 100 engineers in Munich, Shenzhen and Shanghai to leverage the best of consumer drones and aviation with the goal of building the highest energy-efficient eVTOL vehicle.
The AutoFlightX team explored customer pain points in traditional industries such as mining, oil and gas and emergency response. In such scenarios, consumer drones didn’t satisfy the needs for vertical take-off, long-duration cruise and hovering while carrying large payloads, so the company began developing an eVTOL solution. AutoFlightX has already signed on several customers in the mining and inspection industries with their V40 Whiteshark platform that can carry up to a 20 kg payload. The AutoFlightX team has also recently completed their first full maiden flight of a 300 kg platform, which can deliver medicine and other time-sensitive supplies of up to a 100 kg payload. Their 1000 kg platform is currently under development, with plans for initial flights in 2020. AutoFlightX believes their 1000 kg platform will ultimately pave the path to air taxis, which will hold up to four passengers and have a range of >300 km with a single charge.
About TDK Corporation
TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK's comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, Chirp, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of USD 12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.
About TDK Ventures
TDK Ventures Inc. invests in startups to bolster innovation in materials science, energy/power and related areas typically underrepresented in venture capital portfolios. Established in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of TDK Corporation, the corporate venture company’s vision is to propel the digital and energy transformations of segments such as health and wellness, next-generation transportation, robotics and industrial, mixed reality and the wider IoT/IIoT markets. TDK Ventures will co-invest and support promising portfolio companies by providing technical expertise and access to global markets where TDK operates. Interested startups or investment partners may contact TDK Ventures: www.tdk-ventures.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AutoFlightX has been dedicated to the development, production, sales and operation of eVTOL since 2017. Founded in Germany, the AutoFlightX team has over 20 years’ experience making model planes, multi-copters, and fixed wing manned electric airplanes. With this experience finding the balance of energy, weight, strength, aerodynamic efficiency, and propulsion system efficiency, AutoFlightX has created a new eVTOL concept. AutoFlightX’s eVTOLs combine the benefits of multicopters with those of conventional fixed-wing aircraft. The vehicles can be used as regularly piloted sports aircraft, unmanned highly automated cargo drones, and as unpiloted highly automated air taxis. To learn more about AutoFlightX, visit https://autoflightx.com/ or contact the company at https://AutoflightX.com/#contact.