Elroy Air demonstrates autonomous cargo delivery systems for Air Mobility Command and AFWERX
Fairfield, Calif. – Elroy Air, the company developing an end-to-end autonomous vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) cargo system, recently demonstrated its autonomous cargo delivery system at Travis Air Force Base. The demonstration was part of Mobility Guardian 2023, a large Air Mobility Command (AMC) full-spectrum readiness exercise.
Mobility Guardian 23 focused on overcoming challenges related to distance in mobilization, deployment, and sustainment functions in the Indo-Pacific. Elroy Air stands poised to contribute to this mission and supported the 2023 exercise by showcasing its groundbreaking autonomous cargo delivery technology, broadening the realm of the possible for military logistics.
"We’re honored to be a part of Mobility Guardian 2023 and to have the opportunity to demonstrate our autonomous cargo delivery systems at Travis Air Force Base," said Dave Merrill, Co-founder and CEO of Elroy Air. "Our Chaparral technology represents a step forward in the realm of challenging logistics, and will enable rapid, safe and reliable deployment of essential supplies to any corner of the globe. This capability aligns with the USAF’s objectives for Agile Combat Employment, to enable global readiness and advantage.”
Elroy Air's participation in Mobility Guardian 23 reflects its commitment to revolutionizing global logistics capabilities through autonomy and robotics. Leveraging state-of-the-art drone technology, the company is developing an eVTOL cargo system that not only enhances operational efficiency for shippers but also provides a scalable and sustainable means of delivering critical supplies in austere and contested environments.
Maj. Wesley Williams, Travis AFB Phoenix Spark Innovation Lab explains, “AFWERX, in partnership with Phoenix Spark, is doing acquisitions differently here at Travis. Connecting companies like Elroy with frontline Airmen during development helps us proactively solve integration challenges that often slow us down in implementation. That's how we out-innovate our adversaries and ensure we're ready to win whatever fight comes next."
During the exercise, the team demonstrated several of the Chaparral’s autonomous cargo delivery system capabilities, including loading and deploying the vehicle from a C-17 aircraft, stowing and deploying the wing and tail, locating and picking up a cargo pod, autonomous taxiing, and delivering a cargo pod to the next location.
The event also served as an opportunity for Elroy Air’s Design and Engineering teams to collaborate with Air Force aircrew and aerial porters to identify best strategies for efficiently maneuvering Chaparral aircraft into and out of USAF cargo aircraft like the C-17, and refining how the Chaparral can integrate with existing Air Force logistics technologies and processes.
The demonstration was attended by members of AMC, Travis AFB leadership, Travis Spark, Agility Prime, and AFWERX, and representatives from US Army Pacific Command.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.
The Chaparral is a “lift plus cruise” hybrid eVTOL cargo aircraft that leverages the benefits of both conventional turbines and electric propulsion, for efficient autonomous operation and longer range. Engineered with an advanced carbon composite airframe, Chaparral can be configured to ship inside a 40-foot container or in military aircraft for rapid global deployment.
Elroy Air has introduced advanced modular cargo pods that complement the Chaparral’s capabilities. The pods are pre-loaded by ground personnel and autonomously retrieved by the Chaparral aircraft before takeoff. Upon arrival at the delivery location, the aircraft autonomously lowers the pod to the ground. The Chaparral aircraft then retrieves the next pre-packed pod, creating a seamless bi-directional conveyor belt through the sky.
About Elroy Air
Elroy Air is developing industry-first autonomous aircraft systems and cutting-edge software solutions, revolutionizing the world of express shipping. Leveraging hybrid-electric and autonomous vehicle technologies, their vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) systems transcend traditional airport limitations, unlocking new frontiers in commercial air cargo. From swift autonomous resupply for troops to dynamic disaster response and firefighting support, their technology reshapes logistics possibilities. With headquarters in South San Francisco, California, Elroy Air is backed by premier venture capital firms including Catapult Ventures, Marlinspike Capital, Snowpoint Ventures, and Shield Capital. Strategic investments from industry giants like Lockheed Martin Ventures and, alongside support from visionary angel investors including early Uber executives, drive our mission to provide same-day delivery to every person on the planet.
For more information, visit https://elroyair.com.
Elroy Air Contacts
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit www.afresearchlab.com.
The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within the Air Force Research Laboratory brings cutting edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at six hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit: www.afwerx.com.