Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload

Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload

The CAV prototype achieves vertical flight with eight counter rotating blades.

In October, a Seattle-area startup-backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing and -announced plans to bring a small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market by 2022.

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

On Wednesday January 10 Boeing tweeted out a video of its newest autonomous air vehicle.

Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload
Up, up and a-weigh! Boeing flies cargo drone with 225kg payload

Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop added that the CAV is a "major step" in the company's eVTOL strategy. "We'll look back on this day as a major step in that journey".

The cargo air vehicle (CAV) is created to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications, Boeing said. 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. "We fully expect partners around the world will create new ways of applying this technology".

Cargo is not the only one Boeing is interested in transporting using VTOL technology.

It took less than three months to design and build the quadcopter and the project was led by a team from the company's HorizonX division. "Boeing has an unmatched track record, regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight". Most drone manufacturers spend years developing technology and testing it. Boeing, on the other hand, has more than a hundred years of aviation research under its belt, and recently acquired aviation and aeronautics research company Aurora Flight Sciences, meaning that it's going to move fast.

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