The Bright Future of the Cargo Drone Market
In deciding what kind of cargo drone to purchase for heavy lifting, the issues are what are you going to do with it and what payload you need. One thing to keep in mind is that a drone that is under-loaded will be able to fly further.
Another issue to address is how the payload will be attached to the cargo drone itself, whether it can operate with the standard connection or if there is the need for a custom solution, which would add weight to the payload (payload are the things that are useful in flight, that is, the spare capacity it has to carry objects that are not strictly needed for flight itself).
The other question is how long the drones needs to stay airborne with a particular payload weight.
The Scope of Transportation by Containers & the Promise of Cargo Drones
It is amazing that over 90% of all goods in the world today are transported by containers worth more than $4 trillion annually, according to the World Shipping Council.
According to the American Trucking Association, nearly 71% of all the freight tonnage in the U.S. are transported by trucks on land, and it can take over a month for some goods to sail from China to New York.
In the last couple of years there has been a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. Can drones be the answer to this global supply chain? Many believe that the answer to this shortage is drones–cargo drones—that can carry heavy cargo and fly long distances to deliver products and supplies.
According to The Insight Partners, the global drone logistics and transportation market generated more than $24 million in revenue in 2018, and the projected number for 2027 is $1.6 billion.
Types of Cargo Drones
The following are the most commercially feasible heavy-lifting drones that are changing the cargo industry :
1. Intel Falcon 8+ 1.76 lbs
2. DJI Inspire 2 1.79 lbs
3. DJI Matrice 210 v2 2.95 lbs
4. FreeFly Alta 8 Pro 20 lbs
5. FreeFly Alta X 35 lbs
6. xFold Cinema x12 u7 45 lbs
7. xFold Dragon x12 u11 100 lbs
Boeing has a cargo air vehicle that weighs 747 pounds, has eight rotors that allow for vertical flight, and can carry payloads of up to 500 pounds. California-based Sabrewing is working on a prototype that can achieve speeds of up to 207 miles per hour (180 knots) with a cruising altitude as high as 22,000 feet.
The airlines are showing increased interest in cargo drones that offer opportunities to gain efficiencies, reduce costs, and increase speed, and cargo drones also offer new forms of air freight, such as:
- Last mile air transport Humanitarian deliveries
- Disaster relief
- Transport of temperature sensitive medicine and food
Business opportunities exist for the cargo drone industry with the airlines which include the following:
- Ground safety checks (aircraft, runway, etc.).
- Monitoring the perimeter bird and wildlife control.
- Warehouse operations such as sorting and inventory.
- Transport of goods such as parcels.
- Transport of general and special cargo in urban space as well as in rural and remote locations.
- Transport of passengers: drones for tomorrow’s travel by air, including urban mobility.
Industries that can use cargo drones need to respond quickly to address the challenges and capture the opportunities offered by this new branch of civil aviation.