Boeing unveils unmanned electric cargo air vehicle prototype
Boeing has unveiled a new unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles.
It is designed to transport a payload up to 226kg for possible future cargo and logistics applications.
Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s chief technology officer, said: “This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy. 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.”
In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.
Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications. Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.
Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president, said: “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. The safe integration of unmanned aerial systems is vital to unlocking their full potential. Boeing has an unmatched track record, regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight.”
Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It measures 4.57m long, 5.49m wide, and 1.22m tall, and weighs 339kg.
Chicago-based Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defence, space and security systems. A top US exporter, the company supports airlines and US and allied government customers in 150 countries.