UAV Boeing autonomous passenger vehicle completes maiden flight

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has published, that its autonomous passenger air vehicle has completed its first flight.

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Boeing NeXt, a program that was introduced by the manufacturer, tests prototypes to advance technology and safety of urban air mobility. The latest autonomous passenger air vehicle has now successfully completed its maiden flight in Manassas, Virginia.

Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop stated: "In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype [...] Boeing's expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world's safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions."

During the first flight, the prototype performed a controlled take-off, hover and landing. These tests confirmed the vehicle´s autonomous functions and ground control systems. Now, Boeing will accomplish more test flights that treat the forward flight, wing-borne flight and the transition phase between forward and vertical flight modes.

The electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) was developed and designed by Boeing subsidiary company Aurora Flight Sciences. The company will continue to test the vehicle, in order to ensure and advance safety and reliability.

"This is what revolution looks like, and it's because of autonomy," added John Langford, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Flight Sciences. "Certifiable autonomy is going to make quiet, clean and safe urban air mobility possible."

Boeing NeXt´s autonomous passenger air vehicle has a range of up to 50 miles (approximately 80.47km) and measures 30 feet (9.14 meters). It is 28 feet (8.53 meters) wide and features the propulsion and wing systems that achieve the most efficient forward and hover flight.

Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, said: "Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market [...] From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world."

Boeing NeXt works in partnership with regulatory agencies and its portfolio includes an unmanned electric cargo air vehicle that was designed to carry up to 226.80 kilograms of cargo.

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