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Jan 13, 2018

Boeing’s prototype cargo drone can haul 500-pound loads

Posted by in categories: drones, robotics/AI

In the future, autonomy won’t just mean you can relax in the passenger seat on your drive home from work. Driverless vehicles of all kinds are set to revolutionize the cargo industry, too, from delivering a pizza or dropping off an Amazon package, to hauling much larger shipments across continents and the high seas. Naturally, Boeing is one of many companies investing in cargo planes of tomorrow, and is keen to show off some of its early work in the form of a huge octocopter capable of carrying loads of up to 500 pounds (over 250kg). In less than three months, engineers at Boeing built and carried out successful test flights of the all-electric prototype, possibly (but unofficially) breaking a Guinness world record in the process.

The rough-and-ready concoction of metal and batteries measures 15 feet long, 18 feet wide and 4 feet tall, weighing in at 747 pounds (nearly 339kg). In other words, it dwarfs the consumer DJI drone you got for Christmas. Obviously Boeing’s prototype is far from a commercial product, but the firm says it’ll be used “as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications.”

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