Commercial, Unmanned

Boeing to Research Autonomous Vehicles at New MIT Location

A map of the planned Kendall Square development. (MITIMCO)

Boeing will lease approximately 100,000 square feet at MIT's upcoming building in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The agreement makes Boeing the first major tenant to commit to MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, which includes six sites slated for housing, retail, research and development, office, academic, and open space uses. Boeing is expected to occupy its new space at 314 Main St. (“Site 5” on the map above) by the end of 2020.

In the new facility, Boeing will establish the Aerospace and Autonomy Center, which will focus on advancing enabling technologies for autonomous aircraft.

“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.”

In 2017, Boeing acquired MIT spinout Aurora Flight Sciences, which develops advanced aerospace platforms and autonomous systems, whose primary research and development center is also located in Kendall Square.

Earlier this year, Boeing announced that it will serve as the lead donor for MIT’s $18 million project to replace its 80-year-old Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel. This pledge will help to create, at MIT, the world’s most advanced academic wind tunnel at MIT.

“MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, has made clear his objective of reducing the time it takes to move ideas from the classroom and lab out to the market," MIT EVP and treasurer Israel Ruiz said. "Just as pharmaceutical, biotech, and tech sector scientists in Kendall Square work closely with their nearby MIT colleagues, Boeing and MIT researchers will be able to strengthen their collaborative ties to further chart the course of the aerospace industry.”

The 314 Main St. building’s foundation and basement level — which will house loading infrastructure, storage and mechanical space, and bicycle parking — is currently under construction. Vertical construction of the building is slated to begin in September.

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