A U.S. startup Elroy Air is developing the world's first autonomous drone capable of delivering 300 to 500 pounds (227 Kg) of cargo over a 300-mile (483 Km) range, with no need for even an airport or electric charging station.

Elroy Air is aiming to improve quality of life worldwide by expanding the reach of expedited logistics via air cargo.

Five-year-old Elroy Air is an aerospace + logistics startup developing the world’s first end-to-end automated vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial cargo systems, and has even collaborating with the US space agency NASA to accelerate and improve the safe integration of advanced autonomous cargo aircraft into the United States airspace.

Together, NASA and Elroy Air intend to demonstrate key integrated operational Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) scenarios with flights of Chaparral, an Elroy Air's autonomous VTOL cargo aircraft. NASA will provide Elroy Air with simulation scenarios and software interface details to validate connection and data formats.

Chaparral is a hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) cargo aircraft being developed by the team at Elroy Air in San Francisco, California. The system will carry 136 kg (300lbs) of cargo over a 483 km range.

The Chaparral took a successful test flight that was conducted with a team of just 16 employees in August of 2019.

With ability for autonomous cargo loading and unloading, Chaparral  aircraft allows a single pilot to operate a fleet of 10-50 UAVs from a remote location. With these stunning features, the Elroy Air team believes drones have the power to improve quality of life worldwide by expanding the reach of express logistics.

Elroy Air will join two more companies - Wisk and Alaka'i Technologies, who signed information exchange agreements with NASA last year. Wisk is all-electric eVTOL air taxi and Alaka’i is eVTOL air taxi called Skai.

The three companies, along with other NASA industry partners, will prepare for the first National Campaign series, called NC-1, beginning in 2022 with intent to assess safety scenarios focused on automation and vehicle designs. These will focus on demonstrating integrated operations through flight activities with vehicles and third-party airspace service providers at various locations around the country.


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