Meet Planar, the 7-seater hybrid air taxi from Korea
Korean eVTOL startup, Plana, has posted on social media that the company has completed a successful pre-A round fundraising for $9 million led to cumulative financing of $10 million, including the Seed phase.
Plana CPO, Jinmo Lee, said, “We appreciate Schmidt, DSC Investment, Shinhan Asset Management, FuturePlay, Dt&Investment, Industrial Bank of Korea, Kibo Technology Fund, and Xenoholdings Asia for their trust in Plana’s vision and potential to be grown up as a leading global AAM market player”.
The new long-range, hybrid-electric VTOL air taxi can travel at speeds of up to 217 mph (350 kph) while transporting up to seven passengers 350 miles (500 km) away.
The concept renderings of the vehicle have a pretty distinctive appearance; its long, thin fuselage sweeps out into an upper main wing, and a pair of razor-thin canards emerge from lower down the main tube up front. The propulsion system employs sizable, tilting five-blade electric props and a full vectored thrust design. The overall configuration in hover mode resembles a hexacopter since two are affixed to the canards, two are located at the outer front margins of the main wing, and the third pair is located closer to the fuselage on the trailing edge of the main wing.
For VTOL operations, the rear two props tilt downward while the rest tilt upward. This is due to the fact that they are set up as pusher props for cruise mode; if they slanted upward like the others, they would need to reverse rotation when switching to cruise flight. This is good for flight dynamics, but it places these big props directly at ground level where people can barely walk by them. Plana doesn't seem too bothered; it appears that the front canard props will also be chest-high slicer-dicers. So I suppose we should allocate some money for some lovely yellow stripes on the vertipad.
The aircraft appears to be an excellent contender for a regional air minibus because it is a bigger, hybrid-powered, long-range, somewhat high-speed design. With numerous eVTOL businesses working toward a target date of 2024 for commercial certification and introduction into operation, Plana will be behind the curve on this one. According to Plana's schedule, a completely approved machine would go into production by 2028 and a demonstration aircraft would be produced by 2024.
On the one hand, this implies Plana will be allowing other businesses to pave the way through the certification red tape. By then, with flags in the majority of the mines along the road, the process should be a little simpler and less expensive. The harsh reality of the challenge is beginning to sink in, and while Plana is off to a good start with a 40-person team, it might find it difficult to raise money toward a brutally expensive certification and production push once there are a few high-profile corpses littering the climb to the summit. On the other hand, the eVTOL gold rush of 2020–21 appears to be well and truly over.
In addition to accelerating the development of a 1,543-pound-class (700 kg) half-scale hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle in 2023, the business intends to finish developing a pure battery-based VTOL reduction tester this year.
Dr. Shah explained how he and his team made significant advances in translational cell therapy, successfully developing cellular treatments for cancer.