Boeing's UAV Prototype Can Transport Up To 500 Pounds

  • Boeing's UAV Prototype Can Transport Up To 500 Pounds

Boeing's UAV Prototype Can Transport Up To 500 Pounds

The copter has already completed the initial flight test successfully at Boeing Research and Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri. The company dubbed it an "unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle prototype" (or eVTOL CAV prototype). The drone is created to carry payloads between 250 and 500 pounds and operate within a 10 to 20 mile radius. "We'll look back on this day as a major step in that journey".

Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop added that the CAV is a "major step" in the company's eVTOL strategy. It measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall and weighs 747 pounds.

Boeing's said nothing about speed or range, so it's hard to assess whether the prototype will be decent competition for conventional transport.

Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications.

While we aren't likely to see Boeing's drones delivering couches and groceries any time soon, there are a number of important takeaways worth considering.

Boeing says that the development of the drone took around three months from paper design to flying vehicle.

"Our new CAV prototype builds on Boeing's existing unmanned systems capabilities and presents new possibilities for autonomous cargo delivery, logistics and other transportation applications", said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president.

Even though it is now controlled by a remote, The makers intend to use it as a flying test bed for the development of autonomous technologies and electric propulsion. These specs position Boeing's drone in the last-mile delivery range, but Boeing hints this first model could lead to larger, more capable drones, adding the prototype will be used to "test and evolve Boeing's autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles". The payload is also orders of magnitude greater than the UAVs flow by Google and Amazon, suggesting Boeing's targeting its usual commercial and defence customers rather than would-be-operators of book-delivery drones.