Boeing has today revealed a huge drone that can lift a 500-pound payload. This is an “unmanned electric vertical-takeoff and landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype”. The aerospace giant said it has been able to serve as the precursor for future flying autonomous aircraft.
The company says that heavy-duty drone Boeing’s engineers should only design and build up to 3 months. It successfully completed initial flight trials at Boeing’s research lab in Missouri.
“This flying cargo air vehicle represents another important step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy”. Boeing chief tech officer Greg Hyslop said in a statement. “We really have an opportunity to change air travel and transportation, and we will look back on this day as a big step in that journey.”
Powered by an electric propulsion system. The CAV prototype is outfitted with 8 rotors that allow vertical aircraft. It measures 15 feet (4.57 M) long, 18 feet (5.49 M) wide, and 4 feet (1.22 M) tall, and weighs 747 pounds (339 kg). Boeing did not provide further details about the flight. Such as the duration of the trial or the efficiency of the CAV’s batteries.
The unveiling of the new eVTOL aircraft comes just 4 months after Boeing announced it had acquired Aurora Flight Sciences. An aviation and aeronautics research company that is one of the few companies that have joined Uber in an effort to develop a network of “flying taxis”. Boeing announced that its CAV prototype would “complement” the eVTOL air taxis that Aurora is designing for Uber.
Drones and flying taxis are not in Boeing’s only VTOL projects in the works. The company is also the main sponsor of a $2 million competition to create a functional jetpack. The contest seeks entrants who can build a safe, quiet, ultra-compact jetpack capable of carrying a single person 20 miles or more without recharging or refueling.