Electric Cargo Drone Orders Surpass 1,000

Elroy Air’s “lift plus cruise” hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo aircraft is designed for efficient autonomous operations and longer range missions

Liz Hughes, Editor, IoT World Today

October 10, 2023

2 Min Read
Elroy Air’s “lift plus cruise” hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo aircraft
Elroy Air

Commercial demand for the Elroy Air autonomous hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) cargo drone has exceeded 1,000 vehicles, according to the company. 

Demand for the Chaparral aircraft is due to years of vehicle production learning to first deployments the company said will be “priority defense and operations outside the U.S.,” according to the company.

Elroy Air said it has already received commitments from Mesa Airlines, Bristow and FedEx. The company recently announced an agreement with Bristow for five Elroy Air Chaparral eVTOL cargo drones, an expansion of a previous preorder of 100 systems in July of 2022. 

The Chaparral is described as a “lift plus cruise hybrid-electric eVTOL cargo aircraft, designed to leverage the benefits of electric propulsion and turbo-generation and offer efficient autonomous operations and longer-range missions.”

It has an advanced carbon composite airframe and can be configured to ship in a standard 40-foot container or cargo aircraft for “rapid global deployment.” 

"Over the past several years, we've seen tremendous excitement build about the Chaparral system and its applications,” said Dave Merrill, Elroy Air's co-founder and CEO. “To surpass 1,000 aircraft demand this year is an incredibly exciting milestone. 

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"We are so grateful for our partners who have joined us at the forefront of an emerging chapter for logistics. We look forward to delivering these aircraft to points around the globe for a range of uses including express commercial shipping, humanitarian aid and resupply for the U.S. and allied forces."

Elroy Air has also designed advanced modular cargo pods that complement the Chaparral's capabilities. They are preloaded on the ground and can be autonomously retrieved by the aircraft before takeoff. Once at their delivery location, they are autonomously lowered to the ground by the aircraft, leaving the Chaparral open to retrieve the next pod, creating what the company calls a “seamless bi-directional conveyor belt through the sky.”

In May Elroy Air demonstrated the Chaparral’s autonomous ground navigation and cargo-handling systems to U.S. Air Force senior and executive officers. 

First deliveries of the Chaparral are expected in 2025.

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About the Author(s)

Liz Hughes

Editor, IoT World Today, IoT World Today

Liz Hughes is an award-winning digital media editor with more than two decades of experience in newspaper, magazine and online media industries. 

A proven digital media strategist and editor, Liz has produced content and offered editorial support and leadership for a variety of web publications, including Fast Company, NBC Boston, Street Fight, QuinStreet, WTWH Media, AOL/Patch Media and Design News.

A skilled social media strategist experienced in developing and maintaining an audience across multiple platforms and brands, Liz also enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise to help businesses small and large.

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