Workhorse’s new passenger drone, which hopes to pave the way for autonomous transport solutions, was unable to embark on its maiden voyage at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week because of ‘inclement weather’, which was described by some as ‘drizzle’.
The SureFly passenger drone been granted permission to fly by regulators just last week but had to be grounded on safety considerations ahead of its big reveal at the international trade technology showcase. But the company has said it hopes to execute its maiden flight soon and industry experts have praised the ‘wise decision’ to ground the electric hybrid helicopter.
The SureFly’s showcase was anticipated as one of the main attractions at this year’s CES show and press were invited to cover its flight from Boulder City Airport. An airport employee described the weather to the BBC as “sprinkling very softly”.
The two-person electric-diesel hybrid claims a range of around 70 miles and the company hopes to develop it into an autonomous craft. It has four propeller arms and eight propellers and can carry around 181kg.
Workhorse told the BBC: “The SureFly is a purpose-built experimental aircraft and the fuselage on the SureFly at CES has not been waterproofed, although it will be on future production models.
“To avoid potential risks associated with rain affecting the aircraft’s electrical system and the SureFly’s rotor blades, the SureFly’s first flight has been postponed.”
In December Workhorse announced that it intends to spin off its SureFly business into a separate publicly traded company called SureFly, Inc.