Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been making an impact on battlefields and military applications for several years. Now, with a new design from Boeing, as much as 500 lb. of cargo will be transported without human guidance.
The cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype is an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL), which is a potential solution for handling future cargo and logistics applications. “This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop “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 CAV uses an electric propulsion system. It has eight counter rotating blades to achieve vertical flight. The aircraft measures 15 ft. long (4.57 m), 18 ft. wide (5.49 m) and 4 ft. high (1.22 m), and weighs 747 lb. (339 kg). It was designed and built in less than three months by a team of Boeing engineers and technicians. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.
The CAV prototype will be used as a flying test bed for the development of autonomous technology for future applications. The development of the CAV prototype was led by Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research and Technology. The efforts in advancing autonomous vehicles for cargo use complement developments in eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft being made by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.
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.
“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.