Boeing Tests Vertical-Takeoff Drone That Carries People

MANASSAS, Va. — Boeing said its first test flight of an electric, vertical takeoff and landing drone that can carry passengers was a success.

Video released by the company last week showed the fully autonomous craft ascending, hovering in midair and landing. The electric propulsion system air taxi is designed for a range of up to 50 miles.

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

The craft measures 30 feet long and 28 feet wide. Future flights plan to test forward movement in air, along with other safety considerations.

The Boeing NeXt division will also be outdoor flight testing this year a cargo drone that can transport up to 500 pounds.

Last week, the Texas Department of Transportation announced it would create a Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force to plan how such advancements can influence traffic safety, transportation options for people with mobility problems, and more.

“Our goal is to further build on the momentum already established with the Texas Technology Task Force and the Texas Innovation Alliance, and work with interested parties on the latest and greatest in CAV projects and enhancements,” said TxDOT Executive Director James Bass. “We look forward to furthering these important efforts as connected and autonomous vehicles become reality.”