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EmbraerX to partner with cargo drone developer Elroy Air

Embraer’s disruptive business subsidiary, EmbraerX, is expanding into the commercial air cargo market through a collaboration agreement with Elroy Air, the San Francisco-based startup developing the hybrid-electric Chaparral cargo drone.

Elroy Air for EmbraerX collaboration
Elroy Air’s Chaparral is designed to autonomously pick up and drop off cargo pods for maximum throughput. The company said its collaboration with EmbraerX will help it break into commercial markets. Elroy Air Photo

EmbraerX and Elroy Air announced their partnership on Jan. 8 at CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada, saying that the agreement will leverage “Embraer’s 50 years of industry experience with Elroy Air’s bold new developments in autonomous aircraft systems.”

“We believe the cargo market is prime for an autonomous aircraft,” stated EmbraerX president and CEO Antonio Campello in announcing the agreement. “Booming e-commerce is forcing the cargo market to grow and seek new solutions, creating a distinct need for more flexibility.”

Campello said that EmbraerX will take a “holistic approach” to accelerating this market, working with Elroy Air and its Chaparral system — capable of delivering payloads of 250 to 500 pounds (110 to 225 kilograms) over distances up to 300 miles (480 kilometers) — in addition to pursuing related work in a tailored urban air traffic management system and a fleet-agnostic business platform, called Beacon, to streamline services.

According to Elroy Air CEO Dave Merrill, “Elroy Air’s vertical takeoff and landing cargo delivery aircraft, the Chaparral, will operate without airports or charging stations, and is optimized for freight with automated cargo loading and unloading. Our collaboration with EmbraerX will accelerate our path to deployment in commercial freight markets.”

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