Boeing unveils prototype for unmanned electric cargo air vehicle

FILE PHOTO - The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company Boeing (BA) is seen in Los Angeles, California, United States, April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

(Reuters) - Boeing Co BA.N on Wednesday unveiled a prototype for an unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing cargo air vehicle (CAV) that the planemaker said will be used to test it's autonomous technology.

The CAV, designed and built in less than three months, is powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system and can carry up to 500 pounds, Boeing said.

“Our new CAV prototype ... presents new possibilities for autonomous cargo delivery, logistics and other transportation applications,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX, the unit that developed the CAV.

Chicago-based Boeing’s development of the environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system comes as the race intensifies to advance battery technology and electric motors to lower flying costs and move away from fossil fuels.

Airbus AIR.PA, Rolls-Royce RR.L and Siemens SIEGn.DE came together in November to develop a hybrid electric engine, with Airbus responsible for the control architecture of the propulsion system and batteries.

In October, a Seattle-area startup - backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing and JetBlue Airways Corp JBLU.O - announced plans to bring a small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market by 2022.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza