If you’ve been following our blogs lately, it’s no secret that many on our team are pretty big Star Wars fans. So when we heard about the startup Xwing, we couldn’t wait to learn more about it. Lock your s-foils readers, the real-life Xwing autonomous flying invention design is even cooler than you think.
Xwing | Autonomous Flight Technology
A year, ago Xwing miraculously completed their first fully autonomous air cargo flight. That includes both takeoffs and landings in a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan! Fast forward to just a few months ago in April, Xwing achieved its first autonomous gate-to-gate commercial cargo flight. But what’s the problem they’re trying to solve? We hear quite a bit about autonomous cars but not so much when it comes to self-flying airplanes.
Oddly enough, the best way to explain is by introducing one of Ronny Chieng’s skits. In one of his skits, he brings jokingly predicts that one day, people won’t be satisfied with the speed of Amazon’s Same-Day delivery for Prime customers. One day people will require something even faster. Just watch it.
And while it’s obviously just a joke, extraordinarily fast shipping is the norm today. Consumers don’t want to wait a week or a month for their online purchases. And Xwing recognized that the need and desire for fast deliveries have resulted in high transportation costs and supply chain challenges. Paired with the fact that there’s been a 30% drop in qualified pilots according to the FAA, it’s clear having flying invention designs such as autonomous planes would be a huge benefit in the air cargo industry.
What makes Xwing autonomous flying invention design special? Unlike other invention businesses that are building autonomous flying vehicles from scratch, Xwing is focusing on software for existing aircraft. Xwing’s software will transform existing airplanes into autonomous ones that can take off, fly and land on their own. To help ensure the safety of the aircraft, operators remotely monitor the autonomous aircraft and can fully take over the controls if necessary. There are two key features of Xwing’s software. Sensors monitor the aircraft’s surroundings in the air and on the ground. These sensors are designed to detect and avoid hazards. The navigation and control feature will create optimal flight paths depending on interfacing with air traffic control, detecting hazards, and other aspects of the flight.
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