, Pyka Bets The Path To The Future Of Passenger Planes Runs Through Banana Plantations In Latin America, our suggestion to make money from home:, Pyka Bets The Path To The Future Of Passenger Planes Runs Through Banana Plantations In Latin America, our suggestion for walmart products, tags, our suggestion for Diamond CBD Gummy products get your last business news our CBD oil suggestion, our suggestion for weight loss our suggestion for keto weight loss,, Pyka's Pelican crop-spraying drone can carry more than its weight in chemicals and is designed to take off and land in 150 feet, half the length of a football field. Courtesy of Pyka Oakland-based Pyka shares a goal common to many high-tech California aviation startups: to build an autonomous electric passenger aircraft. However, its first steps to get there have taken the company far away from the pack, first to New Zealand and now to banana plantations in Costa Rica and Ecuador, where it’s preparing to field a robotic crop-spraying airplane called Pelican that CEO Michael Norcia says will prove out technology he believes will lead the way to an era of green, low-cost passenger planes. The fat-bellied, 500-pound plane can carry more than its weight in liquid pesticides or fertilizer, and is engineered to take off and land in a ridiculously short space: 150 feet, half the length of a football field. Someday that short takeoff and landing capability may enable passenger service to be shoehorned into cities and suburbs in a different way than many other electric aviation startups are envisioning. For now, the 28-year-old Norcia is betting that agriculture is a more practical – and lucrative — avenue to pursue. Pyka says the Pelican will have 50% of the operating costs of manned crop-spraying planes and will remove pilots from harm’s way in a business where skimming fields at 140 miles per hour too often leads to accidents and death. And banana plantations, which are the most frequent users of aerial spraying in the world, may be the perfect environment for it to take wing.
Dozens of companies are trying to build futuristic-looking, autonomous electric “air taxis” that can take off and land vertically on city roofs, carrying one to a half-dozen passengers. Norcia, whose first job after graduating from UC Davis with a physics degree was at one of them, billionaire Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk, believes they’re a decade too soon – the limitations of current batteries and other technologies leave eVTOLs with too little range given how energy intensive it is to propel an aircraft straight up and down, he says.
Pyka’s strategy is to take the well-understood efficiencies of fixed-winged airplanes and marry it to advances in high-power electric motors to produce an airplane that can operate on radically shorter runways. “They like to fly,” Norcia says of fixed-wing airplanes. “By starting with something that looks like an airplane you start off on the right foot.” At the same time, Norcia, who grew up in the Bay Area building small planes (“I had a lucky upbringing that gave me the resources to buy huge amounts of balsa wood”), believed it was too soon to try to convince regulators that its’s safe to let electric robot aircraft fly people. “There’s still a lot of innovation that has to happen on the electric propulsion side and in autonomy,” he says. “Trying to marry all that innovation with the most regulated industry in the world ends up being a challenging relationship.”
To Norcia and his cofounders — COO Chuma Ogunwole, a recent Harvard MBA; and software engineers Nathan White and Kyle Moore – a crop sprayer seemed like an easier safety case. Crop-spraying planes hug the ground in rural airspace that no one else is using, meaning Pyka doesn’t have to solve the thorny problems that drone package delivery services and autonomous urban air taxi hopefuls do of how to ensure their aircraft don’t crash into each other, or the airplanes and helicopters that already fill suburban and urban skies. Another reason Norcia says they “fell in love” with crop spray…


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