Boeing’s autonomous PAV (passenger air vehicle) has taken its first flight – and realised the dreams of millions worldwide of having flying cars.
What did the Boeing PAV do?
The Boeing PAV prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing.
The flight also tested the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems.
Boeing said future flights will involve test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes.
That transition phase is considered the most significant challenge for any high-speed VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft, Boeing said in a press statement.
What is it?
With four rotors on either side and a pusher propeller at the rear, the Boeing PAV resembles a stubby aircraft no rear cabin and room for two in the cockpit.
Powered wholly by an electric propulsion system, it’s designed for fully autonomous flight from take-off to landing and has a range of 80.47km.
It measures 9.14m long and 8.53m wide.
The Boeing PAV saw an incredibly short development time – from conceptual design to flying prototype in just one year.
“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,” said Boeing’s chief technology officer Greg Hyslop.
Who is it built by?
The Boeing PAV is developed by subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, which itself is a unit of Boeing NeXT, which is in charge of Boeing’s urban air mobility efforts.
Aside from the PAV, the Boeing NeXt portfolio includes an unmanned, fully electric cargo air vehicle (CAV) designed to transport up to 227kg and other urban, regional and global mobility platforms.
The CAV completed its first indoor flight last year and will transition to outdoor flight testing this year.
“Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market,” said Boeing NeXT’s vice president and general manager Steve Nordlund.
“From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world.”