A cargo drone airline is a hypothetical form of transportation in which goods are transported by a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones. These cargo drones would be designed to carry payloads of various sizes and weights.
They could travel long distances and navigate to specific locations using GPS and other navigation systems. The concept of a cargo drone airline is still in the early stages of development.
Still, it has the potential to revolutionize the way goods are transported, particularly in areas that are difficult to access by other means. Some potential benefits of cargo drone airlines include reduced operating costs, increased efficiency, and the ability to operate in a wide range of environments. Cargo drone airlines could be established in the future to facilitate the transportation of goods on a larger scale.
The World’s First ‘Cargo Drone Airline,’ Black Swan, Plans to Fly in Early 2023
In the European Union (EU), the “Black Swan,” a drone that can carry cargo, will debut in early 2023. The idea came from two brothers from Bulgaria named Konstantin and Svilen Rangelov, who run a company that makes drones.
Rangelov told Business Insider that the cargo drone could cover the continental United States, the Caribbean diagonal, the South China Sea, and Europe.
“So the size fits in well with the geography of the world.”
Multiple news articles that quote the brothers say that they started looking into the business in 2013 when Amazon started trying out drone delivery.
The brothers assumed there was an excellent way to deliver parcel packages to each client. Still, they gave up the idea when they realized how difficult it would be to deliver packages directly to people’s homes using small drones similar to Amazon’s.
The merchandise is flown into Sofia, Bulgaria, loaded onto a large truck, driven hundreds of miles, and then unloaded onto a smaller van that transports the delivery to specific locations. According to Rangelov, this is a costly process.
“We said, ‘Let’s map the vehicle size to exactly what can fit in a delivery van in the last mile,'” Rangelov explained.
“By doing it this way, we can skip a step.”
Cheaper and Faster Freight Delivery
The ‘drone airline’ company says that with the help of about 3,000 airstrips in Europe, the final product, which has about half the space of a U-Haul moving van, could help customers ship cargo quickly and cheaply, allowing for same-day delivery.
Rangelov believes that a number of the airstrips are closer to customers than the primary distribution centers, making them even more suitable for same-day delivery.
Also, the design makes Dronamics stand out from other companies that use cargo drones since most of them carry smaller loads for shorter distances.
In 2018, Dronamics told Drone DJ news that most small delivery drones try to solve the “last-mile problem.”
“They’re the bike messenger, and we’re the cross-country truck.”
The company says that Dronamics’s shipping drone could be up to 50% cheaper than competing cargo planes. This is partly because it is made of carbon fiber, which makes it attractive for the “middle-mile market.”
The Black Swan can travel 1,550 miles in a single flight, has a cruising altitude of 20,000 feet, and can carry up to 350 kilograms (770 pounds).
The Rotax engine that powers the drone shuttle was made by the Austrian company BRP-Rotax, owned by Bombardier Recreational Products.
Rangelov says that the plane will be able to break into the low-density e-commerce market because it can carry both single packages and pallets of one item.
Black Swan Runs on Sustainable Fuel
When Black Swan is ready, Dronamics plans to use it as the first freight drone airline. The first flights will be over water and in the Mediterranean, like Greece or Cyprus.
The company says that the Black Swan can get too small, remote towns easier than other drones because it can carry more and land on short runways, even ones that aren’t paved.
The plane, which will be made in large numbers in Germany and Australia, runs on fuel from plants.
The “fastest and greenest” way to move freight will be pushed, and the manufacturers say that this will cut emissions by 60%.
Future of Dronamics and the beards
Rangelov says that the business already has partners like the German logistics giant Hellmann, which called Dronamics’ Black Swan a “game changer,” and DHL.
Hellmann’s Kleine-Lasthues thought that early ideas for drone delivery were “a dead end.”
“I never thought that parcel drones would work. We’re working with Dronamics because it’s not a delivery service like Amazon “BBC heard from Lasthues.
Dronamics first offered a prototype that was the size of a quarter.
The Black Swan will take flight for the first time in the coming months. At that time, the Rangelov brothers said they would finally “shave their eight-year-old beards.”
The Konstantin brothers said they wouldn’t shave until the first flight of the drone they had been building in their home country of Bulgaria.
The beard goes back to when they started Dronamics when the company was first made.
“We would like to start with less dangerous routes,” Rangelov said. “As we gain acceptance and trust, we’ll also be able to fly over land.”
The remote-controlled, unmanned aircraft won’t deliver things door to door. Instead, they’ll use a network of “droneports” to deliver goods on the same day between major hubs or warehouses and far-flung communities.