On Monday, a new zero-emission autonomous electric cargo plane was unveiled, which could change the shipping industry forever. The electric cargo plane is the world’s largest zero-emission plane, with “unprecedented payload and range capabilities.”
Pyka, founded in 2017 in the garage of CEO Michael Norcia’s parents, is now a market leader in electric crewless aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.
Previously, crop spraying was prioritized over cargo because there were fewer regulations and obstacles to overcome. Pyka launched its first product, the “Egret,” after raising a $3 million round from Y Combinator, a tech startup accelerator, in March 2018.
First human-scale electric plane for commercial use
Pyka certified the Egret for commercial use with the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority in May 2019, making it the first human-scale electric airplane for commercial use.
The company briefly flew its second-generation electric agricultural sprayer, the “Pelican,” after raising another $8 million in funding. The Pelican would soon be spraying bananas for major Costa Rican customers.
Pyka’s Pelican was the first automated fixed-wing aerial to spray over a banana crop field in July 2021. With the introduction of its Pelican Cargo, the world’s largest autonomous electric cargo plane, the young aviation company is making history once more.
Pyka’s Pelican Cargo showed us what the future could look like. The industrial aircraft is the world’s largest zero-emission cargo plane and the first automated car.
Electrification for aviation is safer
Pelican Cargo will have a significant positive impact on people’s lives. We designed this plane to eliminate C02 emissions from the logistics chain while offering a significant speed advantage over ground transportation and operating costs at a fraction of conventional air transportation
Norcia of Pyka stated on electrification is better for aviation industry
Replaceable batteries and 400 pounds of cargo space
The Pelican Cargo will have a range of up to 200 miles (with a 20-minute reserve) and a payload of up to 400 pounds in 66 feet of cargo space. Loading takes only five minutes with a sliding cargo tray.
The airplane has four electric motors, a combined power of 100 kW, and a 50 kWh lithium-ion replaceable battery. When it comes to charging, you can either replace batteries (a five-minute process) or recharge in about an hour – added GPS and Laser/Radar navigation enable for night flying.
Pelican Cargo received 80 orders
Pyka claims to have received over 80 orders and alternatives for its electric cargo plane from three customers. The aircraft is being rigorously tested at Pyka’s testing site in Northern California, with the first commercial flight scheduled for the year’s second half.
Welcoming the Pelican Cargo aircraft into our fleet will enable us to continue on our mission of solving complex logistical and operational challenges with tailored drone services. We know a thing or two about drones, and in our eyes, the Pelican Cargo is the most advanced product in its payload class on the market
Alex Brown of Skysports Drone Services stated on convenience of Pelican Cargo