SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- U.S. top aircraft manufacturer Boeing Company announced Wednesday that it is planning to open the new Boeing Aerospace and Autonomy Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for designing, building and flying autonomous aircraft and developing enabling technologies.
As the first major tenant of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) new mixed-use district in Kendall Square, Boeing said it will lease 200,000 square feet (about 9,290 square meters) of research and lab space inside a new 17-floor building that will house employees from Boeing and its subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences.
The new center will focus on Boeing NeXt programs launched last month when Boeing unveiled its partnership with an artificial intelligence (AI) technology leader, SparkCognition, to use AI and blockchain technologies to track unmanned air vehicles in flight and secure drone-based package delivery in urban areas.
The U.S. aerospace giant is pouring funds into the development of new autonomous vehicles and future transportation systems that "will bring flight closer to home."
"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," said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer.
The tech hub is part of MIT's 2 billion-U.S.-dollar development project dubbed the Kendall Square Initiative that aims to bring vibrancy and diversity to Kendall Square, an MIT-supported neighborhood with a dynamic blend of functions such as housing, lab and research space, retail, innovation space, open space, and a dedicated facility for the MIT Museum.
"MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the oldest program of its kind in the United States ... Boeing's presence will create an unprecedented opportunity for new synergies in this industry," said MIT Provost Martin Schmidt.
Boeing is expected to occupy its new space by the end of 2020. Financial terms of the new lease deal and development of the new facility were not disclosed.
Last year, Boeing announced it will become the lead donor for MIT's 18-million-dollar project to replace its 200-year-old Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel, which will be built into the world's most advanced academic wind tunnel based in the university.