• Pipistrel's Nuuva UAV cargo system is set to challenge the helicopter freight industry. (Pipistrel)
    Pipistrel's Nuuva UAV cargo system is set to challenge the helicopter freight industry. (Pipistrel)

Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel is taking orders for its Nuuva autonomous cargo system, the company announced yesterday.

The Nuuva V300 is an electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) that operates unmanned using eight Pipistrel E-811 electric motors drawing power from batteries.

The system is controlled using pre-loaded flight plans which are monitored and managed by a ground operator.

"This one-of-a-kind aircraft embodies our vision to disrupt aerial cargo transportation by commercialising the use of [eVTOL] vehicles," Pipistrel said in an annoucement. "The highly customisable autonomous aircraft can carry up to 460 kg, is easy and economical to operate, and offers the efficiency and reliability of electric powertrain.

"Currently, precious cargo is delivered to many locations around the world with helicopters, which are excellent for hovering but much less efficient in cruise flight, as they rely solely on their rotor(s) to provide the necessary lift,.Their complex flight mechanics also results in a high number of moving parts, requiring frequent maintenance and inspection, further increasing the costs of operation.

"The Nuuva family combines the best of both aeroplane and helicopter air cargo transportation principles. The unmanned eVTOL capability enables it to go where no aeroplane is able to, while its hybrid configuration allows it to operate at a fraction of the cost of a helicopter on an equivalent mission.

"The Nuuva V300, with its simplicity, efficiency, and autonomy, is targeting to deliver a 10x improvement in economics to the operator."

Pipistrel expects the Nuuva V300 will enter service in the second half of 2023.

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