"We'll look back on this day as a major step in that journey".
Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop added that the CAV is a "major step" in the company's eVTOL strategy.
In December, Boeing unveiled its MQ-25 unmanned aircraft system, which is designed for aerial refueling of U.S. Navy jets that operate from aircraft carriers.
It measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall and weighs 747 pounds (that specific weight probably isn't a coincidence). Boeing, however, just revealed a new cargo drone that's capable of lifting 500 pounds. The company dubbed it an "unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle prototype" (or eVTOL CAV prototype).
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The aerospace company expects that once mature, the technology tested on this prototype will revolutionize time-sensitive deliveries, particularly in risky environments and areas lacking proper transportation infrastructure.
A team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype in less than three months, Boeing said.
Following a almost three-month development period, the UAV underwent initial tests at a collaborative autonomous systems laboratory in Missouri. The development of the drone is outlined in the following video: The innovative vehicle will be used to test and evolve Boeing's autonomous technology for future aerospace vehicles. "Boeing has an unmatched track record, regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight".
The drone's eight propeller vertical-liftoff "quadcopter" design has range limitations that exclude the sort of airfreight that Air Cargo World mostly covers - conventional air freight - instead placing it in the shorter-range last-mile or perhaps short-distance deliveries between clustered DCs. This market is of great interest not only to express carriers, but also to e-tailers such as Seattle-based Amazon.com and Chinese e-commerce retailer JD.com, which are constantly exploring methods of reducing fulfillment and delivery costs against a backdrop of growing demand for e-commerce deliveries.