EmbraerX, a subsidiary of Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer, and drone startup Elroy Air have agreed to collaborate on developing Elroy's Chaparral, an unmanned, hybrid electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) cargo aircraft. The announcement came Wednesday at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.
The Chaparral system will be capable of flying up to 300 miles to deliver 500 pounds of cargo and will feature autonomous cargo loading and unloading, according to Elroy Air. Chaparral and other cargo drones under development likely will be used in remote areas lacking road and airport infrastructures.
Elroy Air CEO Dave Merrill said his company intends to open a new chapter for the logistics market with point-to-point autonomous aerial cargo systems. "Our collaboration with EmbraerX will accelerate our path to deployment in commercial freight markets," he said.
An Embraer spokesperson said the companies are jointly exploring ways Embraer's expertise in aerospace systems can accelerate Elroy Air's systems development. They also are exploring opportunities in the commercial logistics market.
EmbraerX is based in Melbourne, Florida, and is part of the Uber Elevate Network, which is working to develop aerial ridesharing and begin demonstration flights this year.
Elroy Air was founded in 2016.