Boeing was not on the ESC this week, but the aeronautical giant has just unveiled a rather ambitious cargo drone project. HorizonX, its innovation cell, has designed in just a few months and completed the first flights of the Boeing CAV (Cargo Air Vehicle), a cargo drone capable of lifting a load of 250 kg. It’s not much compared to other Seattle-designed aircraft, but it’s a record load for an electric-propelled drone.
A key step towards electric vertical flight for Boeing
According to official history, this UAV was designed in less than 3 months by the Boeing HorizonX innovation cell with the help of Boeing Research & Technology. With its 4.57 m long, 5.49 m wide and 1.22 m high, this prototype is already impressive. This large octocopter weighs 339 kg unladen and has been designed to lift 250 kg of load. It’s only a prototype and no notion of range and distance covered, but Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s technical director, points out that this cargo drone represents a step forward in the aircraft manufacturer’s strategy for electric vertical flight (eVTOL). We have the opportunity to really change the air transport and when we look back, this day was a major step in this process ” explained the manager. In addition to this internal development, the Boeing press release reminds us that the American company is also collaborating with Aurora Flight Sciences, a startup that is working on a prototype of a passenger transport drone.
Boeing, like its rival Airbus, are placing their pawns on the future heavy UAV market, which nobody knows when it will really take off.
Source: “Boeing Unveils New Unmanned Cargo Air Vehicle Prototype”, Boeing Press Release, 10 January 2018
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator