Elroy Air has developed a transport drone it says can deliver anything from shipping cargo to humanitarian aid
- Elroy Air, an aerospace and logistics company, has developed an autonomous hybrid VTOL aircraft for cargo transport and delivery - what would commonly be referred to as a drone.
- The aircraft has a payload of 250 to 500 pounds and a range of 300 miles.
- It's targeted towards three applications: commercial, humanitarian aid, and military.
- The first system will launch in 2020, and the company is hoping to start using the product with its partners by 2021.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Elroy Air has developed a hybrid-electric autonomous vertical take-off and landing aircraft for cargo transport and delivery that doesn't require an airport.The aerospace and logistics company - with a team of fewer than 20 people - raised $9.2 million from investors, Forbes reported. And on August 28, it completed its first successful test flight with a 1,125-pound VTOL named Chapparel that flew up 10 feet for 64 seconds before safely landing.Advertisement
Elroy says its aircraft can have multiple applications, including commercial, military, and humanitarian aid. In terms of commercial use, the aircraft can deliver packages faster than a truck because it avoids car traffic. This idea also applies to humanitarian aid and military use as the plane can "self-deploy" to inaccessible locations.
For example, the autonomous VTOL can deliver essential items like food, water, and supplies, rapidly following a natural disaster that may have made the land inaccessible via car."We're exploring markets in a number of countries that have either challenging infrastructure, rural environments, or even islands for us to be able to play a critical part in their supply chain," Elroy Air's head of business development and strategy Kofi Asante told Business Insider.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Elroy Air, and to see its first successful autonomous test flight:
Elroy Air isn't the only company experimenting with the autonomous VTOL and drone delivery market: Amazon and UPS have already started testing delivery drones.
The VTOL aircraft has a payload of 250 to 500 pounds and a range of 300 miles. It has a hybrid-electric powertrain with lower emissions than a normal aircraft and doesn't require an electric charging station or an airport.Advertisement
It also has autonomous cargo loading and removing capabilities.
Elroy Air believes that expanding air cargo reach can expedite economic development by delivering goods and necessities to those who are relatively inaccessible because of location or weather issues.Advertisement
In terms of commercial delivery, the Elroy Air is optimized for the "middle mile" to deliver packages from one distribution center to another center or a commercial business owner, Elroy Air's founder and CEO David Merrill told Business Insider.
The company uses technology and equipment from the car and autonomous or electric vehicle supply chain.Advertisement
"We spent a lot of time researching, talking to companies that are building new systems that could be useful to us, testing them ... to make sure that they're going to perform the way we need them to so that our whole system works the way we need it to," Merrill said.
The first system will launch in 2020 with a few select shippers, with the hopes of expanding wider in 2021.Advertisement
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