Boeing to buy Aurora to boost autonomous flight

eVTOL aircraft
Aurora Flight Sciences’ electric-powered, autonomous eVTOL aircraft is being developed for Uber. (Aurora Flight Sciences Photo)

Boeing says it has struck a deal to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences, a leader in the field of autonomous flight, to beef up its own capabilities on that frontier.

Aurora has been working with Uber on a new type of electric-powered autonomous aircraft that takes off and lands vertically. The Virginia-based company has reportedly worked with Google as well on that company’s hush-hush Project Skybender, which is aimed at developing high-altitude drones for long-duration flights.

Boeing, meanwhile, has been raising its profile in autonomous flight. It already owns Insitu, a company headquartered in Bingen, Wash., that specializes in unmanned aerial systems for military and civil applications. And this year, Boeing executives said they were moving forward with tests that could ultimately lead to self-flying planes.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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