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Boeing to open autonomous flight research center

Boeing in Kendall Square
An artist’s conception shows the Kendall Square building that will house the Boeing Aerospace and Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Mass. (Perkins + Will via PRNewsfoto / Boeing)

Boeing says it’ll be moving into a 100,000-square-foot research and lab space in Cambridge, Mass., that will focus on the design and development of autonomous aircraft.

Boeing’s Aerospace and Autonomy Center will house employees from Boeing and its recently acquired subsidiary, Aurora Flight Sciences, in a new 17-floor building in Cambridge. The agreement, announced today, makes Boeing the first major tenant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kendall Square Initiative, which includes six sites slated for housing, retail, research and development, office space and academic facilities.

“Boeing is leading the development of new autonomous vehicles and future transportation systems that will bring flight closer to home,” Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s chief technology officer, said in a news release. “By investing in this new research facility, we are creating a hub where our engineers can collaborate with other Boeing engineers and research partners around the world and leverage the Cambridge innovation ecosystem.”

MIT said Boeing is expected to occupy the new space by the end of 2020. Employees from Aurora Flight Sciences’ existing R&D center in Kendall Square will move into the new center and operate it on Boeing’s behalf.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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