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Boeing's prototype cargo drone can haul loads up to 500 pounds

By Shawn Knight ยท 13 replies
Jan 11, 2018
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  1. Boeing recently unveiled a prototype cargo drone capable of transporting payloads of up to 500 pounds. Even more impressive is the fact that Boeing engineers went from a concept on paper to a working example in just three months.

    The aircraft, officially described as an unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV), puts conventional consumer drones to shame. The aerial vehicle is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades for vertical flight and utilizes an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system.

    It measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and four feet tall and weighs 747 pounds (that specific weight probably isn’t a coincidence). The drone successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology's Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri, we’re told.

    Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop said the flying cargo ship represents another major step in their eVTOL strategy, adding that they have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport and that they’ll look back on this day as a major step forward in that journey.

    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." It also complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, the company Boeing acquired last year.

    Aurora Flight Sciences is one of several aircraft manufacturers helping Uber develop its flying taxis of the future.

    Permalink to story.

  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Maniac Posts: 261   +174

    #1 I seriously don't think the FAA is ever going to allow a drone-dominated sky.

    #2 This technology absolutely has a place in the future, delivering supplies to difficult to reach areas, but only for disaster recovery. I seriously doubt the FAA will allow these things to fly willy nilly over homes.

    #3 Who will be the first person to die when one of these malfunctions? How much will his family win in damage$?
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,320   +1,932

    Every major company wants to automate their entire operation as much as possible. If a CEO could replace his entire payroll with robots he would do so. Eliminating jobs is job #1 and they will spend as much as necessary to render workers obsolete, and that includes paying off the government to not only let it happen but reward the ultra-capitalists for doing it. I wonder who these companies plan on selling their junk to when nobody has an income anymore.
  4. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Booster Posts: 165   +39

    I'd buy one to use for the daily commute
  5. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 821   +553

    Militaries all over the world will be all over this. Soldiers at the front need ammo, food and water, possibly gear. Wouldn't be useful in convention war, but that seems to be at risk of going extinct. When you look at the kind of Ops going on today this is a good fit. Don't have to send a Hercules aircraft to drop a container by parachute or a helicopter, especially a Chinook and risk those aircraft. Not when you can use some low ranking soldier to strap a load to this and fly it over.
    mbrowne5061 and Reehahs like this.
  6. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 446   +297

    I say the same things about "autonomous" vehicles. Criminals and terrorists to use them in 3...2...1...
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,040   +555

    Senketsu gets it. The DOD put out a call for a VTOL drone capable of resupplying forward-based troops a few months ago. This is likely the result of that, and Boeing is just showing off a little.

    500lbs is just enough to re-supply a squad out in the field, or evac a wounded soldier in a pinch. Get a few of them working together, and you couple probably re-supply a larger or more dug-in force. Ground convoys are no longer reliable in this age of asymmetric warfare, and 'full-size' transport helicopters are too expensive to use for every re-supply. The exact logistics probably still need to be worked out, but this will take any military that uses these, and shift them form a 'hub-and-spoke' supply line model to a supply network.
  8. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 258   +154

    Your argument was made during every major advancement, such as cars and computers. The changeovers are slow enough that society & the workforce adapt and everything is fine. Learn some history and do more informed reading, instead of just spewing out nonsense you learned from whatever ignorant sources you chose.
    Godel likes this.
  9. geogan

    geogan TS Member

    Can you imagine if it malfunctioned or terrorists took control of it over a crowded city area - fly horizontally two foot off the ground and it could decapitate crowds of people easily
  10. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 258   +154

    Why bother doing that...just payload 500lbs of explosives to drop or land on the crowd.
  11. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 446   +297

    People have been saying this forever - especially on the demise of the horse and buggy for automobiles. The jobs will just shift elsewhere.
  12. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Maniac Posts: 261   +174

    The horse and buggy argument is a red herring.

    THE FAA controls flying objects larger than 50 pounds. (Drones over 50 pounds must be registered).

    I said: disaster recovery and delivery of supplies.

    The corporations would have to try to vote for an ***** president to dismantle the FAA before they could automate drone delivery.
  13. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 617   +217

    hum.? all the tiny hidden spots I would find to fly fish.I'm in.needs flotation.
  14. Joe Blow

    Joe Blow TS Addict Posts: 244   +77

    They should use the same remarkable technology used with the Moon landers. Of wait, did they even land on the Moon? There's no proof.

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