Boeing unveils prototype for unmanned electric cargo air vehicle

Jeannie Matthews
January 13, 2018

The cargo air vehicle (CAV) is created to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications, Boeing said.

Boeing unveiled a prototype for a massive remote-controlled drone Wednesday, meant to deliver cargo up to 500 pounds.

The aerospace company said that the technology tested on this prototype will "open up new possibilities for delivering time-sensitive and high-value goods, conducting autonomous missions in remote or risky environments, and other cargo and logistics applications". "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". Both companies say their drones are meant to be able to deliver goods within at least a 10-mile radius.

Chicago-based Boeing is the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. The octocopter weighs more than 700 pounds and is powered custom batteries.

The drone's eight propeller vertical-liftoff "quadcopter" design makes such a drone appropriate for deployment in shorter-range last-mile, or perhaps short-distance deliveries between clustered Distribution Centers.

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Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer of Boeing, said the platform represents a step in the company's eVTOL strategy. However, that's not too unsurprising, given it's unlikely Boeing will mass produce this particular drone.

Prototype development was led by Boeing HorizonX, along with partners in Boeing Research & Technology.

In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype.

Cargo is not the only one Boeing is interested in transporting using VTOL technology.

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