Cargo Drone In The Works

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Israeli Aerospace Industries is working on an airliner-sized unmanned aerial vehicle capable of carrying 60,000 pounds of freight. And the only reason it’s focusing on a cargo plane is that the flying public won’t accept a pilotless passenger plane. Shlomo Tsach, IAI’s director of flight sciences, told the Jerusalem Post the technology already exists to fly passengers without pilots but "the world is not yet ready to be flown without a pilot at the stick.” However, he said, a study by Boeing suggests there’s no such resistance to sending packages without direct human intervention, so the idea of a pilotless cargo plane is gaining some traction. At the opposite end of the spectrum, IAI is also working on a nine-pound solar-powered UAV. The Sun Sailor carries a digital camera as its payload and can remain airborne indefinitely using (and presumably storing) solar energy. The Israeli company is also developing a 10-seat commuter aircraft powered by fuel cells. "Our job is to foresee future technology, what we will need and what to invest in,” Arnold Nathan, director of research and development at IAI's Engineering Division, told the Post. IAI is currently involved in 85 aviation research projects under a 10-year contract with the European Union.