Boeing Successfully Tests an Electric Cargo Vehicle

Boeing has successfully tested its new electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype, which is capable of lifting up to 500 pounds of cargo. Boeing’s team of engineers and technicians designed and built this prototype in less than three months.

The company unveiled its new electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype today. It doesn’t have a name yet however, it successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Boeing’s Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop said that the CAV will be used to test and evolve the company’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. He said,

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’s vice president, Steve Nordlund, said that Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications. Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.

Steve adds,

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.

Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It measures 15 feet long (4.57 meters), 18 feet wide (5.49 meters) and 4 feet tall (1.22 meters), and weighs 747 pounds (339 kilograms).

Chicago-based Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries.

Boeing did not disclose the CAV’s travel range once it’s fully charged.