Elroy is hoping to have another of its full-capability pre-production Chaparral aircraft built by the end of the year and will use it to validate subsystem and software. (Elroy Air)
Aerospace and logistics company Elroy Air has raised $40 million in funding for its autonomous cargo aircraft from new investors like Marlinspike Capital, Lockheed Martin Ventures, and Prosperity7 Ventures and existing investors, the company announced on August 4.
Elroy’s aircraft, the Chaparral, is an autonomous and utilities vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). Chaparral uses a hybrid-electric power system and has a payload of up to 500 lbs with a range of over 300 miles.
“This funding propels us into an exciting new stage of our business,” David Merrill, CEO of Elroy Air, said in a statement. “We’re going to complete the build of full-capability pre-production aircraft, advance our certification programs, secure key supply chain partnerships, and enter into flight-test operations in collaboration with our partners at the Naval Postgraduate School and the US Air Force. It’s going to be an amazing next phase!”
Elroy’s aircraft could be used to support multinational parcel shippers, immediate humanitarian aid, firefighting disaster relief situations, flexible logistics for the energy and mini industries, and by the military for resupplying troops in the field, according to the release.
Chaparral uses a hybrid-electric power system and has a payload of up to 500 lbs with a range of over 300 miles. (Elroy Air)
“We believe that building an autonomous VTOL logistics system that does not require additional infrastructure can play a vital role enabling rapid delivery for commercial, defense and humanitarian logistics,” Kofi Asante, VP of Business Development and Strategy, said in a statement.
Chaparral holds its cargo in a container underneath the aircraft that can be removed. The aircraft can autonomously drop one cargo container and pick up another.
Elroy is looking towards middle-mile logistics to deliver between businesses instead of last-mile deliveries which go straight to customers, according to the release.
Elroy is looking towards middle-mile logistics to deliver between businesses instead of last-mile deliveries which go straight to customers. (Elroy Air)
“Lockheed Martin is committed to identifying and investing in leading edge technologies that will contribute to the national security solutions of the future,” Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, said in a statement. “Unmanned aerial systems and VTOL aircraft are key emerging technologies in this effort, and we are excited to partner with Elroy Air to accelerate their innovative approach to automating aerial logistics.”
Elroy is hoping to have another of its full-capability pre-production Caparral aircraft built by the end of the year and will use it to validate subsystem and software, according to the release. Flight validation with the Air Force’s Agility Prime program and the Navy will begin in 2022. They are also working with a composites partner to build airframes.