Boeing Co. unveiled a new unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing air cargo drone, which the company will use for testing and developing its autonomous flight technology in future aircraft. The project is being led by Boeing’s Missouri-based Horizon-X, the company’s innovation arm.
“This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing electric Vertical Take Off and Landing strategy,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop in a company news 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.”
The prototype aircraft is designed to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible cargo and logistics uses. According to Boeing, the drone has successfully completed initial flight tests at the Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in the St. Louis suburb of St. Charles.
The test facility opened in June 2016, and focuses on “(testing) hardware and software that will make a new generation of autonomous air, sea and land vehicles work together more effectively as a team or unit.” The drone is powered by an electric propulsion system, and is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight.
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