Pyka, a California-based developer of Urbain Air Mobility (UAM) technologies, has unveiled the Pelican Cargo, its latest autonomous electric cargo aircraft.
According to the manufacturer, the new freighter can transport up to 400 pounds (almost 182 kilograms) of goods in 66 cubic feet (1.86 cubic meters) of freight volume. This makes the aircraft the world’s largest zero-emission cargo airplane as well as “the first autonomous air vehicle of its class,” Pyka said in a statement released on January 30, 2023.
Featuring unprecedented payload and range capabilities, Pelican Cargo is also the first autonomous vehicle of its class.
“We designed this plane to eliminate carbon emissions from the logistics chain, while offering a significant speed advantage over ground transportation and operating costs at a fraction of conventional air transportation,” Pyka chief executive (CEO) Michael Norcia said.
“Pelican Cargo will have a significant positive impact on people’s lives,” the CEO added.
The autonomous cargo aircraft features a nose-loading system and a sliding cargo tray, both of which are designed to help Pelican Cargo operators to enhance express logistics networks.
Developed to enable air connectivity with remote communities, the aircraft should ensure “fast and reliable access to vital goods and supplies for areas in need,” the manufacturer added.
Pelican Cargo is currently in the development stage and has begun intense testing at Pyka’s flight test facility in Northern California. The manufacturer expects to introduce the aircraft into service during the second half of 2023.
As of January 31, 2023, Pyka has secured pre-commitments of more than 80 orders and options for its Pelican Cargo aircraft. While the manufacturer has not disclosed the name of its launch customer yet, the new freighter is expected to first serve customers across North America and Europe.