Are drones the future of air freight?
As air freight capacity remains competitive, manufacturers are looking to an alternative option: unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
US company Natilus have designed several models of drone which they plan to be able to operate as everything from feeder vessels to intercontinental transport.
The drones are all remotely piloted, and Natilus claim their aerodynamic shape could reduce CO2 emissions per kg by 50% compared to regular air freight.
Natilus CEO Aleksey Matyushev also says they will cut costs for shippers, saying that "Sea freight is currently 13 times less expensive than air freight, but 50 times slower in delivery.
"Natilus intends to revolutionise the transport industry by providing the timeliness of air freight at an affordable cost reduction of 60%, making air cargo transport substantially more competitive.”
Though we are unlikely to see these UAVs in use until at least 2025, at least one major logistics company has already placed an advance order for 2 units.