Wonder why some companies still ship products on boats instead of speedy aircraft? It’s because air freight is much more expensive – crew and fuel quickly add up. Natilus, however, thinks drones might offer a solution.
The startup is prepping enormous, 200ft-long drones (roughly the size of a Boeing 777) that would haul up to 200,000lbs of cargo over the ocean. They’d theoretically reduce the cost of air freight in half by eliminating the crew and improving fuel efficiency. And while the drone likely wouldn’t be cleared to fly over populated areas, that wouldn’t matter — it’s designed to land on water and unload its goods at a seaport.
The idea is ambitious, to say the least, but there is a practical roadmap for making it a reality. A 30-foot prototype is poised to fly near San Francisco this summer.