The San Francisco Bay area start-up said its specially outfitted Cessna 208B left the gate, taxied, took-off, landed and returned to the gate entirely on its own.
Although a video of the flight shows that there was a safety pilot in the cockpit, all traffic control interactions were completed from the ground.
'Over the past year, our team has made significant advancements in extending and refining our AutoFlight system to seamlessly integrate ground taxiing, take-offs, landings and flight operations, all supervised from our mission control centre via redundant data links,' said Xwing CEO Marc Piette.
In addition to the flight test, Xwing said that after its most recent funding round, it is now valued at US$400 million, demonstrating investor appetite for autonomous aircraft business.
According to London's FlightGlobal, Xwing is one of numerous aviation technology firms, including aerospace heavyweights Boeing and Airbus, in the running to build autonomous flight systems for aircraft of all sizes.
So assuming that cargo drones as a business do take off, where would it fit into the current industry? Certainly from most of the news releases that we have seen so far, the use case for the drones seems to be quite specific: quickly reaching remote locations.
Earlier this week, Japanese airline group ANA Holdings revealed that it is collaborating with drone manufacturer Wingcopter on a new aircraft.
ANA said that the two were conducting trials with an electrical fixed-wing VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft developed by Wingcopter, with the aim of building a drone delivery network capable of serving needs across Japan.