Publicado: Vie, Enero 25, 2019
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Boeing’s flying auto passed a big test this week

Boeing’s flying auto passed a big test this week

It wasn't a traditional flight, as it only lasted a minute, hovering above the runway, but it marked a milestone in the PAV's development.

The test flight saw the PAV complete an autonomous takeoff, hover, and landing operation successfully, as well as tested its ground control systems. A test dummy was strapped inside the cockpit for the ride.

"In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype", said Greg Hyslop, Boeing's CTO, in a statement. The 30-feet-long and 28-feet-wide prototype will move next to forward-flight mode, to be tested in future flights, the Chicago-based plane maker said. It's created to fly in full autonomous mode with a maximum range of 50 miles.

"This is what revolution looks like, and it's because of autonomy", said John Langford, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Flight Sciences. The test flight was performed in Manassas, Virginia and the PAV is a vehicle aimed at urban air mobility.

There's been increasing interest in autonomous, personal eVTOL aircraft, more popularly known as air taxis or flying cars.

It is being developed by subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences with the aerospace giant's NeXt innovation arm.

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The PAV is part of the Boeing NeXt portfolio, but the PAV isn't the only autonomous aircraft in the mix. It's also working on a cargo version of the same vehicle, which can carry up to 500 pounds of whatever.

Boeing's closest remaining competitors are Airbus, which says it has already conducted numerous flying vehicle test flights; Volocopter, which has tested a small helicopter-like drone taxi powered by 18 electric drives; and AeroMobil, which has a stretch-limousine concept that can turn into a fixed-wing aircraft.

A hi-tech driverless flying vehicle which which could one day reshape our cities has completed its first test flight.

Boeing NeXt is working on other pieces of the air mobility puzzle as well.

One of the next battlegrounds for traditional aviation companies, tech firms and start-ups is the race to develop the first working self-flying air taxis - helicopter-like vehicles created to carry people a short distance and which open up all kinds of possibilities especially for ridesharing companies like Uber, which wants to build a flying taxi service called Uber Air.

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