Boeing Unveils New Unmanned Cargo Air Vehicle Prototype

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Boeing recently unveiled a prototype cargo drone capable of transporting payloads of up to 500 pounds.

Boeing's electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) unmanned cargo aerial vehicle (CAV) prototype.

The cargo air vehicle (CAV) is created to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications, Boeing said. The aerial vehicle is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades for vertical flight and utilizes an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system. While Boeing have provided the size and weight of the drone, other data, such as, official flight capabilities including range or speed has not been released.

Those interested in learning more about cargo drones and the future of air freight, are invited to join us in Shanghai at the Mandarin Oriental Pudong 23-25 April for Cargo Facts Asia, where a roundtable panel will be dedicated to the topic.

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The news is a development that Boeing's chief technology officer Greg Hyslop said would, "change air travel and transport..."

While we aren't likely to see Boeing's drones delivering couches and groceries any time soon, there are a number of important takeaways worth considering.

The aerospace company intends to use the prototype as a "flying test bed" to further develop and "mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications". "Boeing has the regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight".

According to Boeing, the CAV project took less than three months to complete. Boeing says its eVTOL should "complement" the prototype aircraft previously developed by Aurora. 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.

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