Boeing unveils cargo air vehicle to test autonomous technology

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Boeing has unveiled its unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve autonomy technology.

It is designed to transport a payload of up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications.

The CAV prototype will be used as a flying test bed for autonomous technology for future applications.

Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which Boeing says complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, which was acquired by Boeing in late 2017.

The CAV it was designed and built in less than three months by a team of engineers and technicians, with test flights taking place at the Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Boeing chief technology officer, Greg Hyslop says: “This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy. 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.”

Boeing HorizonX vice president, Steve Nordlund says: “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.”

“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.”

The CAV is powered by an electric propulsion system and is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight.

It measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall, and weighs 339 kilogrammes.