Queensland, Australia, is set to be the home of the Boeing’s Loyal Wingman manufacturing plant, making it the first Australian-built drone in over 50 years. The state’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the partnership earlier this week.
Boeing’s Loyal Wingman drone has reached another achievement, successfully powering its turbofan engine up for the first time. The achievement means the autonomous combat drone is one step closer to being deployed.
Is this the first step to Skynet? Boeing this week has unveiled an autonomous fighter jet for the Australian air force that can fly in formation with manned planes to play a role the company calls “Loyal Wingman.” Expand Expanding Close
Boeing Australia has hit a major milestone with its Loyal Wingman drone, completing its first fuselage for its Advanced Development Program in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The drone is one of three prototypes being produced as a part of the program.
Ex-Boeing executive David Carbon will spearhead the Amazon Prime Air delivery by drone service. In 2013, Jeff Bezos famously announced that deliveries by drone would be a common sight in a matter of four to five years, and that hasn’t exactly panned out yet. But the online retailer is still focused on making parcel deliveries by drone a reality.
Remember the Aeromexico Boeing 737 that was hit by a drone? Yes? Well, it now turns out that it wasn’t. The Grupo Aeromexico SAB airliner that supposedly was hit by a drone last December was not hit by an unmanned aircraft at all. The damage to the radome or nosecone of the airplane resulted from a poorly executed repair, causing it to ‘likely’ collapse and crack as a result of changing air pressure during its descent near Tijuana, Mexico. Drones are often pointed to as the culprits but so far the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has only confirmed two cases.
On Tuesday, Boeing’s autonomous air taxi completed its first flight in Manassas, Va. The aircraft takes off and lands vertically (VTOL) but transitions into a horizontal flight path once airborne. A number of other companies, such as Bell, Volocopter, and eHang are developing similar air taxis.
Last week crew members of a Boeing 737 passenger jet that was making its approach in Tijuana, Mexico, heard a “pretty loud bang.” Based on the photos of the damage to the commercial airline, it was speculated in the local media that the damage may have been the result of a drone collision. However, today we learn from the Aviation Safety Network that “there is no confirmation or evidence yet that a drone strike actually took place.”
Crew members said that they heard a “pretty loud bang” shortly before landing. In photos from the local press, significant damage to the nose of the Boeing 737 passenger jet is visible. Grupo Aeromexico SAB started an investigation whether a drone had indeed collided with the passenger jet as it was approaching its destination in Tijuana, Mexico.
Usually, whenever drones and wildfires are in the news together it’s because these small aircraft are interfering with larger, manned aircraft tasked with delivering water and retardant to extinguish the flames. In a change of events, firefighters of South Oregon are using gas-powered drones to scan wildfire areas and detect hotspot during the night.
The race to who can make the best delivery drone system is in full effect as Matternet raises $16 million with the help of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. There are so many different ways drones can be used to deliver things like packages ordered from online retailers or medicine from a doctor, but Matternet plans to use its drones to deliver items from peer to peer.
One of the best examples of drone deliveries must be Zipline’s blood and medical supply delivery system in Rwanda. The San Francisco-based company has successfully used drones to fly “more than 187,500 miles, delivering 7,000 units of blood over 7,500 flights” since they launched their service in Africa. Could medical cargo benefitting from using a drone to deliver supplies open up the skies for more routine drone deliveries?
During last week’s FAA Symposium in Baltimore, Amazon, Boeing, GE, and Google announced that they are ready to start working on the development of a private Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system for drones. Testing in conjunction with NASA is supposed to start in the next three months. The system will enable swarms of drones to fly a couple of hundred feet above the ground using cellular and web applications to avoid collisions and allow for remote tracking.
Boeing unveiled an “unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype”, which boils down to a giant cargo carrying drone, capable of airlifting 500 pounds of payload. The aerospace company said it is a prototype for future cargo-carrying unmanned aircraft.
Another close call. This time in the southern hemisphere. On its final approach, a Boeing 737-800 passenger jet collides with a drone over the Tierra Santa religious theme park in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Aerolineas Argentinas jet was flying from Trelew, northeastern Patagonia and was struck by the drone on the final approach to the Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery Airport, La Capital reports. The incident happened right over the theme park.
Boeing pursues autonomous flight for both commercial and military purposes with the acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences. Aurora is a company that develops autonomous flight systems that include perception, machine learning, and advanced flight control systems. For more than twenty years, Aurora Flight Sciences has designed, produced and flown more than 30 unmanned aircraft. More recently Aurora has been developing their LightningStrike XV-24A. This military aircraft is autonomous and capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). Earlier this year they executed a successful test flight with a smaller version, called the XV-24A Demonstrator. Aurora and Boeing have a history of working together on rapid prototyping of innovative aircraft for both military and commercial applications.