Boeing Reveals Cargo Drone That Carries 500 Pounds, Rivals Amazon's
Transportation announcements keep coming from CES, with a Hyperloop App and Flying Taxis on display at the massive electronics trade show in Las Vegas. And Wednesday, Boeing revealed a new prototype, a large autonomous drone that's designed to carry up to 500 pounds of cargo. The drone could be a possible competitor to Amazon's Prime Air delivery drone.
The drone is an eVTOL aircraft, or electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing — meaning it doesn't need a runway. Over three months, Boeing took the drone from just a concept on paper to a fully working prototype. Boeing said that it's completed a successful test flights of the cargo air vehicle, or CAV, at its research lab in Missouri.
As its name, octocopter, indicates, it has a total of eight rotors — it also happens to weigh 747 pounds, a significant number for Boeing.
Powered by Boeing's custom designed batteries, it measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall — much larger than your typical consumer drone, which can typically carry just a few pounds. Boeing didn't reveal any more flight details since the drone is still very much a prototype.
"The goal is to grow into a a large scale cargo platform," said David Neely, an engineer at Boeing Research and Technology. "If you extend the range and extend the payload.... and you think about delivering 250 or 500 pounds over a 20-mile radius you can change the way that the world connects. You can change the way we deliver goods," Neely added.
Boeing is working with Uber to develop a flying taxi, and this announcement comes on the heels of Intel's first North American Volocopter Flight and Bell Helicopter's concept VTOL, both on display at CES. The cargo drone will "complement" the company's future flying car, said Boeing.