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The NeXt Revolution: Boeing Sparks AI, Blockchain Platform to Manage Drones

Source: Boeing
Source: Boeing


The NeXt Revolution: Boeing Sparks AI, Blockchain Platform to Manage Drones


“Imagine a world at your fingertips changing how we move and connect in the world.”

Aerospace giant Boeing has seen the future of unmanned traffic management and it is one immersed in drones, blockchain and artifical intelligence – or at least it may be, given a new partnership announced today with AI tech leader SparkCognition.

Based in Austin, Texas, the AI development firm will work with Boeing to further their work towards a future that makes use of artificial intelligence by applying their knowledge and experience to the creation of a UTM that can safely and securely track drones, allocating traffic routes and corridors.

Boeing HorizonX Ventures have previously injected funding into SparkCognition to assist in its development of a secure and reliable data-driven analytics platform, and with the market for unmanned aerial technology driving growth in many sectors, it appears they can now reap their rewards.

The collaboration will see SparkCognition provide Boeing with a standardized programming interface which will support drones in tasks such as package delivery, industrial inspection and other commercial applications.

“Estimated by some analysts at $3 trillion, the urban aerial mobility opportunity will lead to the creation of the largest new market in our lifetimes,” said Amir Husain, founder and CEO of SparkCognition. “The world’s number one aviation leader partnering with the world’s most innovative industrial AI company means that unparalleled experience in safety, innovation, scale, and reliability will be brought to bear to address this monumental opportunity.”

Source: Boeing

Source: Boeing

Boeing have also announced the creation of a new oprganisation that will see through the advancement of UTM and next-generation travel, Boeing NeXt.

By evolving the transportation ecosystem,the aerospace giant will expand its firm foothold in future mobility, advanced propulsion, autonomous flight and the surrounding smart city landscape.

For Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer, he sees the opportunity to leverage Boeing’s current R&D activities and investments to solve the transportation challenges of the future.

“We’re at a point in history where technological advances and societal trends are converging to demand bold solutions and a different way to travel,” he says.

With e-commerce, frequent delivery and traffic congestion on the rise, Boeing sees a departure from the transport options of the recent past, pursuing the advancement of technologies required to create the future of travel and transportation, including AI, as well as hybrid and fully electric propulsion, ensure safe, clean and efficient flight.

To that end, they have outlined in a new video how it will all come together, using digital systems to integrate autonomous and piloted air vehicles into managed airspace.

“By taking a holistic approach that combines Boeing’s strength in technological innovation with new business models and nontraditional partnerships, we are laying the foundation for the future commercial mobility ecosystem,” said Steve Nordlund, who will lead Boeing NeXt in addition to his role as vice president of Boeing HorizonX. “We are shaping the physical and connectivity infrastructure to ensure new air vehicles safely operate in the global air space.”

To underline the role of Boeing NeXt in the future of mobility, the futuristic hypersonic passenger aircraft concept on show this week at the Farnborough Air Show will form part of its portfolio.

Boeing hypersonic concept vehicle

Boeing debuts first passenger-carrying hypersonic vehicle concept

Boeing NeXt will also stable a range of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles that it says will provide on-demand cargo transport and urban air travel for the future.

Underpinning all of this will be award-winning machine learning technology, with SparkCognition building AI systems to support this radical change in mobility.

“Boeing has the experience and expertise to safely and efficiently shape this emerging world of travel and transport. Through Boeing NeXt, we intend to build on our legacy of opening up new frontiers to move people and goods with proven technologies,” concludes Hyslop.

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Cite this article as: Sarah Whittaker, "The NeXt Revolution: Boeing Sparks AI, Blockchain Platform to Manage Drones," in, July 18, 2018,

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