A working prototype cargo drone unveiled today by Boeing marks the entry of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer into the unmanned electric air cargo air vehicle space. While analysts have predicted for some time now that drones are on course to transform the logistics sector, Boeing’s additional aerospace muscle represents a seismic shakeup of the industry, with the Chicago-based company now plowing its extensive technology and resources into developing this still incipient technology.
The drone is powered by an electric propulsion system and outfitted with eight counter-rotating propellers, allowing for vertical and horizontal flight. It measures 4.6 meters long, 5.5 meters wide and 1.2 meters tall, and weighs 339 kilograms. Continue reading “Boeing unveils new cargo air vehicle prototype (Video)”
In the not-too-distant future, large unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)—those flying above 400 feet and weighing more than 55 pounds—will begin populating the skies: transporting cargo, fighting fires, delivering WiFi and even flying people around the world. Think Bigger: Large Unmanned Systems and the Next Major Shift in Aviation is the first look at the large UAS market in the United States, and highlights a potential $30 billion annual market and more than 60,000 jobs in support of the industry.
The impact of large UAS on Americans and our economy will impact us in many ways they see, and many other ways they don’t. Sooner than many people think, a significant portion of American commercial travel will be via autonomous aircraft. Long-haul cargo will drastically change, with new economic centers rising in places in our country where they don’t exist today. Airports and other intermodal transportation centers will need to be designed and redesigned to meet vastly different needs and experiences. Continue reading “Large unmanned aircraft systems will begin populating the skies in not-too-distant future”
Boeing is accelerating breakthrough advancements in autonomous air travel
It recently completed initial flight tests of an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) unmanned cargo aerial vehicle (CAV) prototype. The innovative platform is designed to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles.
In less than three months, Boeing engineers designed and built the CAV prototype, which stands four feet off the ground, measures 15 by 18 feet and weighs more than 700 pounds. It is outfitted with eight counter-rotating propeller blades and custom Boeing batteries that allow for vertical flight. Continue reading “Boeing is accelerating breakthrough advancements in autonomous air travel (Video)”
HERE and Unifly are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones
- Rich and accurate data sources will be vital for safe drone transportation
- In the Autonomous World, ground and airborne vehicle traffic will need coordination
Soon it may not only be our roads that are congested. The growing popularity of drones, whether for recreational or commercial use, has highlighted the challenge of managing traffic in low-altitude airspace. Moreover, in the future Autonomous World, the traffic of both airborne and ground vehicles will need to be well orchestrated to ensure safety and efficiency.
To help meet these needs, HERE Technologies, a global leader in digital mapping and location services, and Unifly, the leading provider of Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) software, are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones. Continue reading “HERE and Unifly are teaming up to jointly enable airspace maps for drones”
Cargo drone startup Natilus announced that it has closed a second round of seed funding with investment from Starburst Ventures, Seraph Group, Gelt VC, Outpost Capital and Draper Associates. The funds will go towards “aggressively scaling,” in anticipation of the startup’s first Federal Aviation Administration-approved flight for its 30-foot prototype. The test flight is scheduled for late 2017, and a commercial market launch is set for2020.
Pitching the startup’s propeller-driven drones as a cheaper alternative to conventional airfreight, and a faster alternative to maritime transport, Aleksey Matyushev, CEO of Natilus, called the second round of investment “an important milestone.” Matyushev added that the latest round of financing would allow Natilus to bring on additional staff to finish design of the company’s 12,000-pound e-commerce drone, while at the same time growing their flight-testing operation for their 2,200-pound, 30-foot prototype. Continue reading “Cargo drone startup Natilus closes second round of seed funding”
Airbus Helicopters completes first full-scale testing for propulsion system of CityAirbus demonstrator
London, Airbus Helicopters has recently completed the first full-scale testing for the propulsion system of the CityAirbus demonstrator – a multi-passenger, self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle designed for urban air mobility. During this successful testing phase, the CityAirbus team thoroughly checked the individual performance of the ducted propellers as well as the integration of the full-scale propulsion unit with two propellers, electric 100 kWh Siemens motors and all electrical systems.
CityAirbus is a battery-powered air vehicle able to vertically take off and land. It is designed to carry up to four passengers over congested megacities to important destinations such as airports or train stations in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way. The innovative four-ducted propeller configuration significantly contributes to safety and low acoustic footprint. Continue reading “Airbus Helicopters completes first full-scale testing for propulsion system of CityAirbus demonstrator”
Autonomous harvest completed by robots and drones at UK farm
It’s harvest season in many parts of the world, but on one farm in the United Kingdom, robots — not humans — are doing all the heavy lifting.
At Hands Free Hectare, an experimental farm run by researchers from Harper Adams University, in the village of Edgmond in the U.K., about 5 tons (4.5 metric tons) of spring barley have been harvested from the world’s first robotically tended farm. Everything from start to finish — including sowing, fertilizing, collecting samples and harvesting — has been done by autonomous vehicles on the farm, according to the researchers.
The team behind the project thinks that robotic technology could improve yields in agriculture, which is necessary if the world’s growing population is to be fed in coming years.
The researchers tackled this problem by using commercially available agriculture machines and open-source software that is used to guide hobbyists’ drones. Continue reading “Autonomous harvest completed by robots and drones at UK farm”
Quiet harbingers of momentous changes – Interview with Hans Heerkens, Chairman Platform UCA (PUCA)
Hans Heerkens is a speaker at the Unmanned Cargo Aircraft Conference, on November 23, 2017, at Avio Aero, Rivalta di Torino, Italy.
Far from the spotlight of the media, technologies are developed that can significantly change aviation – and society- especially when applied jointly. Two of them are 3D printing and quantum computers. Perhaps you do not think of aviation right away. But these technologies can profoundly change aviation, and may have a major impact on tomorrow’s world.
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a technique by which an object is constructed in thin layers, as if a printer does not apply one layer of ink to paper, but layer after layer. The significant advantage is that more and more items can be manufactured wherever and whenever they are needed. This saves time and transport costs. Experiments are already conducted with 3D printing of food. In combination with nanotechnology, which can change properties of materials considerably, the possibilities seem unlimited.
From anywhere to everywhere Continue reading “Quiet harbingers of momentous changes – Interview with Hans Heerkens, Platform UCA”
UN aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry
MONTREAL (Reuters) – The United Nations’ aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry, as part of broader efforts to come up with common rules for flying and tracking unmanned aircraft.
While the International Civil Aviation Organization cannot impose regulations on countries, ICAO has proposed formation of the registry during a Montreal symposium this month to make data accessible in real time, said Stephen Creamer, director of ICAO’s air navigation bureau.
The single registry would eschew multiple databases in favor of a one-stop-shop that would allow law enforcement to remotely identify and track unmanned aircraft, along with their operator and owner. Continue reading “UN aviation agency is backing the creation of a single global drone registry”
The Lilium Jet – The world’s first all-electric VTOL jet
German aviation startup Lilium has closed a $90 million series B round of funding from a handful of notable investors, including Chinese technology giant Tencent, existing investor Atomico (the VC firm created by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström), Obvious Ventures (the VC firm founded by Twitter cofounder and former CEO Ev Williams), and global banking and asset management group LGT.
Founded out of Munich in 2014, Lilium — known as Lilium Aviation until a name change a few months back — is setting out to create a world “in which everyone can fly anywhere, anytime” by building compact all-electric jets that take off and land vertically. This would effectively bypass expensive, space-consuming runways and would position the company to fulfill its mission of bringing Uber-style air taxis to market within a decade. Continue reading “The Lilium Jet – The world’s first all-electric VTOL jet (VIDEO)”