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Autonomous Aviation Startup Xwing Aims to Make Pilotless Cargo Flights

Instead of building autonomous helicopters and planes from the ground up, Xwing is focused on the software stack that will enable pilotless flight of existing aircraft. The company said it has completed more than 70 hours of engine time for ground and flight tests since July, and more than 40 hours of automated flight time using a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan. The Cessna is a utility aircraft that has historically been used for cargo, flight training and humanitarian missions will be the initial centrepiece of its plan to operate commercial cargo flights. The plan is to have a regional focus and operate within a 500-mile range with flight paths over unpopulated areas. Xwing will operate the fleet, but the company is also open to partnerships and licensing the technology to other operators. Xwing’s so-called Autoflight System is designed to be aircraft agnostic. Before commercial operations can start, Xwing will need regulatory approval.

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