You’ve heard of autonomous cars and trucks, but there’s now another fast-emerging player in the world of self-driving technology – one that aims to make traffic safer and more efficient not on the roads but in the air.
Boeing has announced that it will open its new Boeing Aerospace and Autonomy Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), becoming the first major tenant of its new Kendall Square District. Through its Kendall Square Initiative in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the university will develop six buildings to house a blend of lab and research, office, housing, and retail space.
The aircraft manufacturer said it will lease 100,000 square feet of research and lab space inside MIT’s new 17-story building. The new center will house employees from Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences, who will focus on designing, building, and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies.
Boeing’s investment in the new center follows the recent creation of Boeing NeXt, which brings together researchers and projects across the company to shape the future of travel and transport, including the development of autonomous aircraft that can co-exist safely in the air with piloted vehicles, the company said.
“Boeing is leading the development of new autonomous vehicles and future transportation systems that will bring flight closer to home,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing’s chief technology officer. “By investing in this new research facility, we are creating a hub where our engineers can collaborate with other Boeing engineers and research partners around the world and leverage the Cambridge innovation ecosystem.”
MIT Provost Martin Schmidt said that the university’s research interests have been intertwined with Boeing’s for more than a century, making it “fitting” that aircraft company is occupying its innovative new Kendall Square annex.