Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced that it had successfully completed the first test flight of its autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype in Manassas, Virginia. The PAV prototype, powered by an electric propulsion system, is designed for fully independent flight from take-off to landing. The air vehicle, spanning 28 feet in width and 30 feet in height, has a range of up to 50 miles.
Dennis A. Muilenberg released a statement about the accomplishment in a tweet today: “From concept to flying prototype in one year, our new passenger air vehicle showcases the innovation of our #Boeing and @AuroraFlightSci teams. First flight is an important step forward in the future of safe urban air mobility.”
The prototype successfully completed a takeoff, hover and land on Wednesday. These movements tested the vehicles autonomous functions and ground control systems. Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, along with the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes.
In addition to the passenger air vehicle, Boeing’s portfolio includes an autonomous, fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV), designed to transport up to 500 pounds. The CAV completed indoor flight testing last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing in 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,” John Langford, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Flight Sciences said.