NASA selects HyPoint for its 2020 iTech initiative

Dec. 21, 2020
Through the iTech initiative, NASA curates technologies that could help the agency accomplish future exploration goals and seeks to connect innovators with respected technical experts and with potential investors.

MENLO PARK, Calif., - HyPoint announced that it has been named one of three winners of the 2020 NASA iTech Initiative Cycle II, in which inventive technologies were ranked based on criteria that included technical viability, likely impact on future space exploration, benefits to humanity, and commercialization potential.

 Through the iTech initiative, NASA curates technologies that could help the agency accomplish future exploration goals and seeks to connect innovators with respected technical experts and with potential investors. This cycle called for innovative technologies in the areas of power generation and energy, integrated photonics, advanced engineered materials, and miniaturized systems. HyPoint’s aeronautic applications — including eVTOLs, UAVs, PAVs, and electric aircraft — stood out to the judges. The other winners were AutonomIQ and Rapair Medical Devices.

"NASA iTech aims to shine a light on companies and technologies that could benefit NASA through their commercial success,” said acting NASA iTech Program Executive Maxwell Briggs. "The goal is to allow private investment to fund development and allow for the technology to mature in the private sector for potential future use by NASA."

The company also announced that Gur Kimchi, former Vice President of Amazon Prime Air, has joined HyPoint as an advisor. After joining Amazon in 2012, Gur co-founded the Amazon Prime Air delivery-by-drone project and led the organization for the next seven years, culminating in August 2020 when Amazon received an FAA Part 135 commercial airline certificate. Prior to Amazon, Gur spent ten years at Microsoft where he was integral in the development of key technologies including Virtual Earth and Bing Maps; Contextual and Geosocial search; Cloud Infrastructure; Augmented and Virtual Reality; and Enterprise Communications. A veteran of five early stage companies, Gur previously served on the board of Waze (acquired by Google) and was one of the early developers of VoIP technology and IP-based telecommunications interoperability standards. Gur is a founding member of the FAA Drone Advisory Committee, and worked in collaboration with the FAA, SESAR, NASA, and ICAO on the development of the Federated Airspace Management Architecture, enabling the safe integration of drones into the airspace around the world.

 “When manufactured appropriately, hydrogen is an abundant zero-carbon fuel, and hydrogen fuel cell technology has been successfully operationalized with high technical readiness levels (TRLs) for many years. Unfortunately, most fuel cell systems today have not been designed for the unique requirements and exotic environment required to enable efficient aerospace applications. The HyPoint team invented and is now engineering a new category of aerospace-specific fuel-cell technology that can power conventional, STOL, and VTOL applications, as evidenced in part by its recognition by NASA,” said Kimchi. “I’m excited to collaborate with the team at HyPoint, and I look forward to seeing this unique technology enable novel and environmentally responsible aerospace configurations and applications.”

“We’re honored and humbled that NASA — the agency whose tireless work over the past 60-plus years has inspired the hearts and minds of billions of people and led to some of humanity’s most important scientific discoveries — has selected HyPoint as a company that shows innovation and promise,” said Dr. Alex Ivanenko, founder and CEO of HyPoint. “We are similarly excited that Gur Kimchi, — whose work in AI, robotics, and aerospace is renowned — will lend his expertise to several areas of our technology, certification, and go-to-market strategy. HyPoint will benefit from access to some of the world’s most experienced leaders in their respective field, and will be well-positioned to deliver the next generation of hydrogen fuel cells to market.”

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