New Boeing R&D center to focus on autonomous aircraft

New Boeing R&D center to focus on autonomous aircraft

Business news |
By Rich Pell

The new facility is to be located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and would be the first major tenant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) Kendall Square Initiative. The 100,000-square-foot research and lab space will house employees from Boeing and UAV research subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences – which currently has an existing R&D center in the high-tech hub – who will focus on designing, building, and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies.

“Boeing is leading the development of new autonomous vehicles and future transportation systems that will bring flight closer to home,” says Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer. “By investing in this new research facility, we are creating a hub where our engineers can collaborate with other Boeing engineers and research partners around the world and leverage the Cambridge innovation ecosystem.”

The company’s investment in the new center follows the recent creation of its Boeing NeXt organization – a collaboration with artificial intelligence (AI) technology company SparkCognition, formed to deliver unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) solutions. Boeing NeXt, says the company, unites researchers and projects across the company to shape the future of travel and transport, including the development of a next-generation airspace management system to enable the safe coexistence of piloted and autonomous vehicles.

Employees at the new center will help develop new technologies in support of Boeing NeXt programs. Employees from Aurora Flight Sciences’ existing facility in Kendall Square will move into the new center and operate it on behalf of Boeing once complete.

The new Aerospace & Autonomy Center is scheduled to open in 2020.


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