Elroy Air demonstrates autonomous cargo-handling capabilities of Chaparral aircraft
Elroy Air, the company leading the race to develop a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aerial logistics system for middle-mile commercial shipping, humanitarian aid and military resupply, demonstrated the autonomous ground navigation and cargo-handling systems of its Chaparral aircraft for the United States Air Force senior and executive officers as part of the Golden Phoenix Technology Demonstration Event.
During the live demonstration, a developmental prototype of the Chaparral aircraft’s ground systems performed a series of autonomous manoeuvres without the use of GPS, which can be unreliable or jammed in contested environments. Without intervention from operators, the vehicle located and navigated autonomously to a cargo pod inside a hangar from a distance of 20 meters, then used its robotic grasping mechanism to pick the pod up and secure it to the underside of the vehicle. The system then navigated out of the hangar to the takeoff zone.