Cutting-edge aviation technologies company Aurora Flight Sciences was acquired by aviation giant Boeing. Aurora focuses on advanced aviation technologies such as their vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL) airplanes, and also electric airplanes, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Boeing plans for big growth in these areas to advance their capabilities and advance the aviation industry in the coming years.
Aurora may be smaller but its far from being a young company. Founded in 1989, with headquarters in Virginia and manufacturing facilities in West Virginia and Mississippi. Aurora builds cutting-edge airplane designs and manufactures components like wings and doors.
Aurora contracts with NASA, the US military, and private customers. Aurora caters to high profile private customers such as Uber Elevate, a”flying car” Uber plans to launch in Dallas and Dubai in 2020 with self-driving capabilities.
Uber’s vision for the future entails metropolitan areas saturated with “vertiports”—tiny airports where small VTOL airplanes take off and land. A trip that takes two hours in traffic can be cut down to 15mins. Uber estimates the taxi flight will initially cost around $130 and could become as cheap as $20 in the near future.
The vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aircraft is much lighter and more efficient than conventional aircrafts due to greater flexibility to design and electric motors with a variety of propellers positioned around an aircraft. Opening up the possibilities for downward facing propellers that allow the aircraft to take off and land straight up. The designs are significantly quieter than conventional airplanes or helicopters, also opening the possibility of using them in close proximity to public areas. Not only can short-range electric airplane flights be more efficient, but self-flying airplane technologies may eventually eliminate the need for a driver or pilots on short-range flights. This could revitalize smaller airports and allow the flights to be even cheaper.
With better batteries, motors, and software, the aviation industry appears to be on the verge of big technological advancement and Boeing is making sure they stay ahead of the curve through this acquisition. Buying Aurora helps to ensure that Boeing will be able to play in all these markets.