06 Jan '18, 11am

Cargo Industry Tests Seaplane Drones to Deliver Freight #business

Photo: Natilus Freight Flier: An employee paints a prototype cargo drone at a Natilus facility in Richmond, Calif. Two years after World War II, billionaire Howard Hughes personally piloted his “Spruce Goose” troop transport aircraft on the first and only flight of the largest seaplane ever built. It lasted barely a minute. Now, more than 70 years later, a U.S. startup is testing a new seaplane concept—one that could evolve into huge cargo drones that fly 109 metric tons of freight across the Pacific, touch down autonomously over water, and unload at ports around the world. The startup Natilus was founded in 2014 with a dream of building large cargo drones to deliver international freight for about half the price of piloted aircraft, and much faster than ships. In December, Natilus planned to test the water-taxiing capabilities of a small prototype drone with a 9-meter win...

Full article: https://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/aviation/cargo-indust...

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