New Autonomous Drone Now in Pre-Production

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The new, autonomous VTOL Chaparral drone will be able to carry loads of up to 226kg over 482km into rough terrain worldwide.

The company Elroy Air unveiled its new and improved autonomous vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone called the Chaparral. Clint Cope, the company’s co-founder stated that it could help deliver vital supplies to any remote area on the planet.

According to Interesting Engineering, the Chaparral is a unique aircraft that can take off and land vertically, thanks to its eight vertical fans. It also has four swiveling propellers for forward flight. A hybrid-electric powertrain can travel up to 482km and carry cargo weighing between 136 and 226kg.

The Chaparral is specifically designed to fit into a standard 40-foot shipping container, making it a highly portable option that can be easily transported and deployed anywhere in the world. Cope said in a press statement that “the Chaparral will be a vital logistics link for people around the world with unreliable roadways and in remote and rural areas that take longer to reach today.”

The appeal of the cargo delivery industry is the potential of autonomous delivery, which reduces risk to human life by eliminating the need for pilots and passengers. The main advantage of the Chapparal is its ability to swiftly navigate challenging landscapes, making it appealing to both military and humanitarian clients.

“We are increasingly seeing the demand for same and next-day delivery, but so many rural communities have been cut off from the national transportation system,” explained Mesa Airlines CEO Jonathan Ornstein in a press statement. “Pilot shortages and environmental regulations make this even more challenging. With the Chaparral, we’re excited to be able to provide autonomous cargo delivery to help reconnect those communities,” he added.