Boeing's New Delivery Drone Can Lift a Baby Grand Piano
Boeing's latest tech release certainly doesn't shy away from a heavy load. The giant drone can lift a 500 pound payload with ease. The company dubbed it an "unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle prototype" (or eVTOL CAV prototype).
The new drone is the result of three months of Boeing engineering and design, and it recently finished up successful flight testing at the company's Research & Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems lab in Missouri.
"This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy," said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop in a company press release. "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."
Ultimately, Boeing wants to use the autonomous drone for large-scale cargo delivery.
"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. "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."
This isn't Boeing's foray into autonomous aircraft. Four months ago, Boeing acquired Aurora Flight Sciences, a company which had previously partnered with Uber on their flying taxi project. What Boeing is modeling and creating for large-scale cargo deliveries could very well be similar to the technology we'd one day see on a flying Uber.
And then there's Boeing's $2 million contest for people to develop a functional jetpack. Those jetpacks would have to be safe, ultracompact, and relatively quiet in order to win the award. With that deadline approaching, you can be sure Boeing has more VTOL projects in the works.