The prototype of the electric pbadenger air vehicle (PAV) of Boeing successfully completed its first test flight in Manbadas, Virginia, marking a milestone in the march of the aerospace giant towards a fully autonomous electric flight. The vessel is a larger part of Boeing's NeXt program dedicated to urban mobility efforts and was designed by Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing's subsidiary for the Uber Air flying taxi service, which appears to begin transporting pbadengers since 2023.
The successful test flight, achieved after one year from the conceptual design to the flight prototype, demonstrates Boeing's commitment to being a significant presence in the air taxi market.
The PAV, which has no name yet, runs on battery and will be able to perform a fully autonomous flight with a range of up to 50 miles. Its current dimensions are 30 feet long and 28 feet wide, which makes it a little more compact than the average private pilot ship, and features an advanced fuselage design that integrates four rotors and wings. It should be noted that the test flight only included a controlled take-off, overpbad and landing, which means that the most challenging phases for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) have not yet been tested: the regular flight and the transition from the flyby until the forward propulsion.
A similar and impressive aerial taxi prototype was on display at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: the Bell Nexus, whose designer and corporate owner, Bell Helicopter by Textron Inc., is another Uber Air partner. Also a VTOL aircraft, the Nexus is an electric hybrid with 6 rotors that tilt 90 degrees, a Safran turbine for propulsion, and has capacity for 4 pbadengers plus a pilot. Bell's experience with the Osprey V-22, a half-plane, half-helicopter aircraft used by the US Army. UU., Makes the company a natural choice for VTOL civil solutions.
The Boeing PAV during its first test flight. | Credit: Boeing NeXt
A representation of the Bell Nexus in flight. | Credit: Bell Helicopter / Textron Inc.
Due to the rapid pace of development in urban air transport technology so far, future delays in launching the Uber Air service may be due to regulatory obstacles. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has only begun to observe the significant loosening of consumer drone regulations this year. Given the differences in security between handicrafts of small hobbies and the size of automobiles, government hesitation seems inevitable.
The legal challenges that will arise with commercial air taxis are something that Boeing NeXt has made part of its planning efforts, and the company is working with regulatory agencies and industry partners to find ways to market for air mobility technologies. the consumers. As a giant in the aviation industry, Boeing's long involvement in the field will likely become a useful tool in this endeavor. Boeing's Chief Technology Officer, Greg Hyslop, commented on the development of the PAC in the company's press release announcing the test flight: "Boeing's experience and innovation have been instrumental in developing aviation as the way to The safest and most efficient transport in the world, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions. "
Watch the video below to see the PAV in action during your test flight: