Being stuck in traffic when you’re in a huge rush to get somewhere in the city could soon be a thing of the past if Boeing gets to have their say with regards to the future of urban transportation.
Their autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during its inaugural flight test. 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.
Future flights will focus on forward and wing-bone flight, as well as the transition between vertical and forward flight modes.
“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” stated Boeing CTO, Greg Hyslop. “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 PAV prototype is powered by an electric propulsion system and has a range of up to 50 miles (80.47 km). It measures 30 feet (9.14 meters) long and 28 feet (8.53 meters) wide, and was designed in a way in which to achieve efficient hover and forward flight.
BREAKING: It’s another first for us. Along with @AuroraFlightSci we’ve successfully tested our passenger air vehicle. We continue our progress towards a safe and sustainable urban mobility ecosystem. #TheFutureIsBuiltHere pic.twitter.com/hwuw4d5jmz
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) January 23, 2019
“This is what revolution looks like, and it’s because of autonomy. Certifiable autonomy is going to make quiet, clean and safe urban air mobility possible,” said Aurora Flight Sciences president and CEO, John Langford.
Aside from the PAV, Boeing NeXt, charged with leading the company’s urban air mobility efforts, also developed an unmanned electric cargo air vehicle (CAV), designed to transport up to 500 lbs (226.8 kg). The CAV completed its first indoor test flight last year and will proceed outdoors sometime this year.