Boeing has revealed a new drone that can carry up to 500 pounds worth of cargo. Piloted remotely, the drone will possibly allow companies such as Amazon to quickly transport and deliver everything from appliances to auto parts.
Weighing in at over 700 pounds, Boeing’s new drone is a fully electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) prototype that they hope to soon bring to market. Built in less than three months, the drone measures an incredible 15×18 feet, stands four feet tall, and is outfitted with eight counter-rotating propeller blades.
While drones aren’t yet cleared by the Federal Aviation Authority to be used in deliveries, they’re already being used overseas in China. Chinese eCommerce company JD.com has been using their drones to deliver merchandise between their warehouses, which has allowed the company to deliver 92% of their orders within 24 hours, and has expanded their delivery routes to sparsely populated areas of rural China. They’ve even asked the Canadian government to allow them to use the drones in an effort to cut down transport time between seafood manufacturing plants and airports.
When and if Boeing’s drone is released, it will clearly be able to outlift much of the competition. That said, there are better alternatives on the market. Norwegian drone-manufacturer Griff Aviation unveiled their Griff 300 drone a year ago, which also has the ability to lift 500 pounds. It’s even considerably lighter than Boeing’s 700-pound drone, as it weighs in at a measly 165 pounds. The company also offers a higher end model with a maximum payload of 1763 pounds!
While Boeing’s drone is certainly a remarkable piece of technology, they seem to be playing catchup to overseas competitors. Unless Boeing gets to market quickly, they could see Amazon outfitting themselves with Griff Aviation’s drones instead.
Images: Boeing, JD.com