California electric autonomous airplane manufacturer Pyka unveiled on Monday the world’s largest autonomous electric cargo airplane, the Pelican Cargo, with a range of 320 kilometres and payload capacity of up to 400 pounds.

Founded in 2017 by Michael Norcia, the company got its start in true start-up fashion out of Michael’s parents’ garage. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, securing vital investment and progressing through various prototypes.

Late last year, Pyka received the first ever commercial certification to fly agricultural spray missions at night with its Pelican Spray. This means that the Pelican Spray now has approval to be used by Pyka’s local customers to spray large commercial banana plantations, both day and night.

But on Monday, Pyka unveiled maybe the most interesting new aircraft, the Pelican Cargo, which boasts an all-electric and autonomous range of 320 kilometres.

Able to carry a payload of up to 400 pounds in 66 cubic feet of cargo volume thanks to a nose-loading system and a sliding cargo tray, the Pelican Cargo can reach cruising speeds of 80 – 90 knots, or between 111 – 148 km/h.

“Pelican Cargo will have a significant positive impact on people’s lives,” said Michael Norcia.

“We designed this plane to eliminate C02 emissions from the logistics chain, while offering a significant speed advantage over ground transportation and operating costs at a fraction of conventional air transportation.”

Powered by a pair of swappable 50kWh lithium-ion batteries, the combined 100kW powers four electric motors driving four fixed pitch propellers.

With fully redundant propulsion, controls, and sensor suite, and a backup parachute system, like the Pelican Spray, the Pelican Cargo can also fly at night thanks to GPS and Laser/RADAR based navigation.

“We operate a carefully selected fleet of UAS platforms across our markets, each of which has been chosen due to its operational capabilities and unrivaled performance,” said Alex Brown, director of Skyports Drone Services, one of Pyka’s launch customers for Pelican Cargo.

“Welcoming the Pelican Cargo aircraft into our fleet will enable us to continue on our mission of solving complex logistical and operational challenges with tailored drone services.

“We know a thing or two about drones and in our eyes, the Pelican Cargo is the most advanced product in its payload class on the market. We’re excited to kickstart operations with Pyka and put the Pelican through its paces.”

According to Source of photos: internet