The skies over the Lone Star State will get a little more crowded in2023 when FedEx launches the drone-delivery test it announced Wednesday.
Starting sometime next year in Texas (FedEx initially said it will take place around Fort Worth, but a final location has not been determined), the delivery firm will test a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone from Elroy Air. That startup’s Chaparral autonomous aircraft, unveiled Jan. 22, relies on a gas turbine-electric powerplant, which takes away zero emissions as a selling point but allows for what FedEx predicts will be a 300-mile range.
FedEx plans to deploy these winged autonomous planes for “middle-mile” shipments, meaning from one FedEx facility to another instead of dropping off packages in front of customers. Its press release says it began working with Bay Area-based Elroy Air in January 2020.