NASA Testing Fully Electric Plane, Will Publish Findings to Push Industry Forward

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NASA is moving to become more environmentally friendly with electrical vehicles, taking a cue from Tesla and other companies looking to do the same.

More specifically, the government agency has built its own electric version of the X-57 Maxwell plane – a vehicle that’s being used as sort of a scapegoat to test the agency’s experimental, more environmentally friendly upgrades.

Now, according to a blog post from the agency, they’re showing off a version of the plane is entirely electric in Edwards, California. It’s one of three modifications that will be developed and contains electric motors that take the place of the standard fuel, combustion engines.

The plane is one of many to come and will undergo all sorts of tests on the ground level, especially to test its electric systems to make sure it can stay airborne. Assuming these tests go well, NASA will be able to push forward the market regarding electric aircraft and create new regulatory concepts for all in the market.

Finally, NASA plans to use what is called a “design driver” for pilots to test their skills driving the plane. It will help them implement the best policies for any future designers looking to build a similar vehicle. According to the post, these design drivers ensure a 500% increase in multiple areas including carbon emissions, efficiency at higher speeds, and quieter flight sounds.

Also, if and when the agency places the X-57 in the air with a manned crew, it will be the first-ever plane to have done so in over twenty years.

According to Popular Mechanics, transportation companies like Uber at interested in self-driving vehicles, which the X-57 can help push forward. However, the world is taking its time in adopting such an idea, which is probably a good thing considering how much the tech needs to evolve before becoming mainstream.

What do you think about the state of electric vehicles? What about in the self-driving side of things? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images are courtesy of Shutterstock.


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