Boeing Autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle Completes First Flight

January 23, 2019 in Technology, Innovation

Boeing’s autonomous passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype completed a controlled takeoff, hover and landing during its first flight test Tuesday in Manassas, Va.

Boeing NeXt, which leads the company’s urban air mobility efforts, worked with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Tuesday’s test verified the vehicle’s autonomous functions and ground control systems.

“In one year, we have progressed from a conceptual design to a flying prototype,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer 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.”

Future flights will test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes. This transition phase is typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft.

The flight test represents the latest milestone for Boeing, which has changed the world through innovation in the skies for more than a century.

“Since the beginning of flight, Boeing has pioneered hundreds of commercial airplanes, defense aircraft, spacecraft, integrated systems and more,” said Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. “Congratulations to the teams whose hard work and dedication make these test flights a reality—I look forward to the many exciting milestones that lie ahead.”

Boeing NeXt works with regulatory agencies and industry partners to lead the responsible introduction of a new mobility ecosystem and ensure a future where autonomous and piloted air vehicles safely co-exist.