Four years after Amazon introduced the idea, big aerospace companies are finally revealing their own cargo drone prototypes
Using unmanned aerial vehicles for door-to-door deliveries seemed like a laughable pipe dream when Amazon tossed out the fanciful idea on 60 Minutes in December 2013. But some very important people didn’t find the concept so far-fetched.
Behind the scenes at Bell Helicopters and Boeing, innovative engineers started designing aircraft that could prove that delivery drones could be much more than an Amazon marketing gimmick, and in the past few weeks those projects took the form of real, working prototypes. Bell, Boeing, and many other companies hope that these cargo-hauling drones will become the cornerstone of “on demand mobility.”
“ODM is about logistics,” says Scott Drennan, Bell’s director of innovation, during a Popular Mechanics trip to Bell’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. “We believe these vehicles are needed immediately.”