Manassas, Va., was recently home to Boeing’s first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype.
During its flight, the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft completed a controlled take off, then hovered for a bit before it made its landing. The entire process tested the prototype’s ground control systems and autonomous capabilities. In its subsequent flights, the team will assess forward, wind-borne flight, and the transition phase between vertical- and forward-flight modes.
“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” says Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer. “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.”
The aircraft draws on an electric propulsion system for power, and is built for autonomous flight for its entire 50-mi range. It measures 30 ft long and 28 ft wide.
The Boeing NeXt division, which leads the company’s vision of urban air mobility, worked with Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing subsidiary, to design and develop the PAV prototype.
“This is what revolution looks like, and it’s because of autonomy,” says 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.”
You can watch the aircraft’s first flight in the tweet below.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense