Boeing builds an unmanned quarter-ton copter
You may like your little consumer quadcopter, but Boeing has just unveiled something with a tad more … heft. Referred to as an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV), the unmanned prototype aircraft is designed to carry a payload of up to 500 lb (227 kg).
Equipped with eight counter-rotating propellers, the CAV measures an impressive 15 feet long (4.57 m), 18 feet wide (5.49 m) and 4 feet tall (1.22 m), plus it tips the scales at 747 lb (339 kg). It was designed and built in less than three months, led by a team from the company's HorizonX division.
The aircraft has already successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.
Although currently remotely-controlled, it's intended to serve as a flying test bed for the development of autonomous technologies and electric propulsion. It complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype which is being developed by Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences.
"This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy," says Boeing CTO Greg Hyslop, regarding the CAV. "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."