Boeing Designed and Built This Slick VTOL Drone In Just 27 Days

DARPA's always working on a bunch of crazy projects, whether it's to find the next insane robot hero, or just Star Wars robot arms. On their long list of wants is an unmanned "X-Plane" that can do vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) like the dope-ass F-35B. Boeing whipped up this slick contest entry in 27 days.


The Phantom Swift is a bit more Osprey than F-35B but it looks like it found its VTOL legs pretty fast. And apparently it wasn't even that rough to design either; the Phantom Works team banged it out in just three days. And the, with the help of rapid prototyping, the sucker was flying in under a month.

It's only a prototype, so the real thing—if it ever exists—would be a lot larger. This is only a 17 percent-sized scale model to prove the design works. Unfortunately, Boeing didn't see fit to show off the Phantom Swift cruising around in full-on plane mode; maybe they're still working out some of the kinks. But hey, for a month's work this ain't bad. [Boeing]



Not very impressive. They've essentially built a standard quadrotor with a foam body. For whatever reason the yaw seems to be uncontrollable and no flight lasts longer than a few seconds. Now if they could have worked out the software in that same month and it was able to hover stably and transition to forward flight, that would be a feat worth celebrating.