Economy

Boeing's Cargo Drone Prototype Is Huge

Boeing's Cargo Drone Prototype Is Huge

Boeing has unveiled a new unmanned cargo air vehicle (CAV), basically a drone that could transport 500 pounds or 226 kilos worth of goods. It measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall and weighs 747 pounds.

Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop added that the CAV is a "major step" in the company's eVTOL strategy. The craft is operated using an electric propulsion system; Boeing's prototype has eight helicopter-like rotors, allowing for vertical flight. Both companies say their drones are meant to be able to deliver goods within at least a 10-mile radius. "We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we'll look back on this day as a major step in that journey", he said. It is created to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications. "We fully expect partners around the world will create new ways of applying this technology". However, that's not too unsurprising, given it's unlikely Boeing will mass produce this particular drone. Recently, the system passed early flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory.

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Boeing said that it drew on expertise from across the areas of aviation it covers to rush the drone from concept to flight in only three months. The manufacturer noted that the prototype complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, its new subsidiary. The innovative drone is now called the "unmanned cargo air vehicle", although a more catchy name is expected to follow when the drone goes into commercial production. This market is of great interest not only to express carriers, but also to e-tailers such as Seattle-based Amazon.com and Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com, which are constantly exploring methods of reducing fulfillment and delivery costs against a backdrop of growing demand for e-commerce deliveries.


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