Moonware was founded with the belief that multimodal air transportation will become the prime mover of people and goods during the 21st century. From eVTOLs ferrying passengers between cities and suburban areas, to supersonic aircraft and suborbital flights shaving travel time between continents, we are ushering in a new air and space age that will further globalize humanity. Our mission is to enable this next generation of aerial mobility with automated and sustainable airfields.

Aircraft take-off sequence with critical speeds.. Courtesy of Moonware
Aircraft take-off sequence with critical speeds. Courtesy of Moonware

What we’re building

Moonware is creating an integrated ecosystem of intelligent software and autonomous vehicles that optimally connect ground crew, aircraft, and ground support equipment (GSE) to efficiently service flights. Our vision is to handle aircraft autonomously from touchdown to takeoff, providing seamless aircraft turnarounds for a streamlined airport experience.

Embarking on this journey requires setting incremental milestones to lay the foundations for this new frontier of flight. Today, this means optimizing the ground handling operations of commercial passenger and air freight carriers. Moonware’s roadmap establishes the steps to realize this vision, illustrated by the four different critical speeds an aircraft must reach in order to take off, as shown above.

HALO airside OS. Courtesy of Moonware
HALO airside OS. Courtesy of Moonware

V₁ (Decision Speed): Digital Foundations

The first step to modernizing aviation operations requires working with existing airlines, cargo carriers, ground handlers and airports to implement digitally-native solutions. Many current back-office systems in the industry are running on foundations laden with archaic tools, such as walkie-talkie, paper-based timesheets and mainframe computers. A technological overhaul is long overdue to bring the current operational processes up to 21st century standards. Moonware comes into the picture at an inflection point for air travel, where IT shortcomings have taken a toll on the services that directly affect passengers, cargo, and may incentivize carriers to finally address system-specific faults.

We’ve been developing HALO, the airside operating system (OS), a software platform that coordinates the ground crew and equipment responsible for servicing aircraft with tasks such as baggage loading, fueling, cleaning, catering, and more. HALO optimizes ground logistics, pairing ramp agents with flights through an automated system, which also uses smart routing to help ground crews navigate through the tarmac. Algorithmically-orchestrated service missions, powered by real-time data, are key in our software’s ability to redistribute staff and assets during last-minute schedule changes. Today’s legacy scheduling tools lack built-in redundancies for unscheduled changes and setbacks, and systems that account for the complexities in operational disturbances are needed more than ever.

Working with existing airlines provides an opportunity to leverage their established routes and schedules while also improving their efficiency and reliability. Optimizing ground handling processes with HALO can help reduce dependencies on legacy tools, minimizing aircraft turnaround times and delays. This improves on-time performance targets and reduces costs, enabling airlines to operate more flights every day with existing resources, resulting in increased revenue. We can also help airlines reduce their carbon footprint both on ground and in the skies, where optimized ground operations can minimize GSE fuel burn and slash air traffic hold times and the associated aircraft fuel burn. In this manner, passenger loyalty can be won by the airline’s comprehensive commitment to sustainability, both across the core and auxiliary components of their business.

Cargo carriers are another vital part of the air transport industry, responsible for moving goods and products quickly and efficiently. Similarly, by partnering with them we can optimize cargo handling processes, reducing the time and resources required to load and unload cargo from aircraft. This leads to cost savings for cargo carriers and, ultimately, for the end consumer.

Ground handlers play an essential role in the safe and efficient operation of airports. They are responsible for coordinating the movement of aircraft, ground support equipment, and passengers on the ground. Moonware’s software and automated systems can help ground handlers optimize their operations, reducing delays, improving safety, and increasing efficiency.

Finally, working with airports allows us to close the loop in the chain of connected operations. Airports are complex organizations with many stakeholders, and their cooperation is vital to implementing new systems and technologies. Real-time data we collect on ground vehicle traffic, cargo flows, and aircraft services can help airports better manage their resources, reducing their environmental impact and improving their reputation with customers. Moonware can enable airports to become more efficient and competitive, while also improving safety and customer satisfaction, providing a more seamless and efficient airport experience for all travelers.

ATLAS autonomous & electric pushback tug for eVTOLs. Courtesy of Moonware
ATLAS autonomous & electric pushback tug for eVTOLs. Courtesy of Moonware

Vᵣ (Rotation): Augmentative Autonomy

The second step in the roadmap leverages the data, insights and learnings from V₁ to inform where autonomy will augment ramp services, and subsequently pilot this technology in the defense space as well as emerging markets such as Urban Air Mobility (UAM).

Military air bases are some of the world’s largest and busiest airfields, where speed, efficiency, and safety are critical. These airfields cater to a number of different types of aircraft, such as fighter jets, bombers, tanker-refuellers and even diplomatic jets. Further, military airfields can vary in size and function, from strategic airfields to forward operating bases, where there may be little support infrastructure available. As such, air forces rely on robust processes for aircraft readiness that can be rapidly executed at a moment’s notice, scalable across these different facilities. Similar to commercial aviation airfields, we can refine flightline ground handling operations to closely coordinate the airmen and aerospace ground equipment (AGE) for high-volume traffic and a wide range of aircraft types. Moreover, military forces have stringent safety and security requirements that will allow Moonware to rapidly iterate and develop reliable autonomous AGE. Close cooperation with the military will ensure that our systems are safe, secure, and resilient, which will lead to a successful deployment of a robust product for commercial aviation customers.

Separately, UAM provides a perfect test bed to gain unique insights into the challenges and opportunities of a new aviation vertical. It will also allow us to refine our product offering for commercial aviation, by operating in an environment with lighter air traffic and fewer moving parts. Urban Air Mobility OEMs are at the forefront of developing innovative aircraft and mobility solutions that can revolutionize the way people and goods move around cities. By partnering with these companies, we can gain a deeper understanding of the specific needs and requirements of the industry, such as handling aircraft that are being coordinated by advanced airspace management tools, optimizing operations in congested areas with tremendous high flight throughput requirements, and integrating with multimodal transportation networks. This knowledge can help us develop tailored vehicles like ATLAS and other solutions that meet the needs of this rapidly-evolving market segment.

Multimodal airfield with autonomous GSE. Courtesy of Moonware
Multimodal airfield with autonomous GSE. Courtesy of Moonware

V₂ (Take-off): Autonomous Airfields

The third step will be an expansive one for the company, where we will fulfill our objective to become the world’s de-facto autonomous ground service provider, further enhancing our position in the market and raising the value of our offerings to all customers. We will also start interfacing with Air Traffic Control to carry out autonomous surface movement of aircraft.

This will involve growing from a software-focused company to a fully integrated autonomous ground service provider. With this transition, we aim to offer our customers an end-to-end solution that covers all aspects of ground operations. Our focus on automation and sustainability has been at the forefront of our efforts since our inception. Now, with the integration of autonomous vehicles, powered by HALO, we are taking our commitment to the next level. We believe that this will not only provide our customers with a more efficient and streamlined experience but will also benefit the aviation industry as a whole.

In this regard, we can start implementing the concept of engine-off taxiing, whereby our autonomous pushback vehicles can taxi aircraft between gates and runways, reducing fuel costs and emissions between 5–10% per flight, depending on sector length. This will also ensure that aircraft turnarounds are completed quickly and efficiently, reducing ground block time and increasing overall aircraft utilization.

Autonomous GSE will be able to navigate complex airport environments with ease, which will allow us to further optimize ground operations and minimize delays caused by human error or inefficiencies in the system.

Advanced air mobility hubs. Courtesy of DALL-E
Advanced air mobility hubs. Courtesy of DALL-E

V₃ (Climb): Enabling Future Flight

With this fourth step, Moonware will be an active force in the evolution of airfield management, where we anticipate that terminals and critical airport infrastructure will be designed around the service needs of different aircraft. As aircraft become more fuel efficient, electric, and autonomous, airports will also need to adapt to accommodate advanced aerial mobility.

Next-generation aircraft are increasingly being designed around long-term autonomous flight, engineered with advanced software-enabled capabilities and will ultimately be controlled by next-generation ATC tools. Airports will evolve to become hubs uniting all these different modes of air travel, with specific terminals dedicated to different aircraft types. Servicing aircraft with such different needs will require extremely advanced surface management systems capable of catering to the individual nuances of each operation.

In this regard, Moonware will be the ground complement of advanced airspace management, building efficient surface movement systems to enable the next generation of aerial mobility with automated and sustainable airfields. In the same way the Moon is a satellite to the Earth, future vehicles under our network will be satellites to aircraft, seamlessly connected through software and hardware products — hence our name, Moonware.

This mission requires us to maintain a broad presence across the industry from day one, in established markets such as commercial and cargo aviation, to the nascent ones such as Urban Air Mobility, where we will help build the foundations for a new frontier of aviation.

If you are moved by how globalized humanity has become, join us in building the technologies that will enable the next generation of aerial mobility to further connect our civilization on Earth and beyond.

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