Global Air Freight: Unmanned

Tags: Logistics, Technology , Supply Chain

 When air freight is too expensive and ocean freight too slow, can this drone carry the day?

Mention drones in logistics and most people envision compact flying objects carrying small packages.

Startup drone company Natilus says: Think bigger. Instead of modest last-mile deliveries, its gigantic aircraft drones aim to transport as much as 200,000 pounds of cargo from one international port to another.

Natilus drones are designed to be amphibious, able to take off and land in the water—meaning no pricey airstrips required—and then taxi to the port of call.

The company's plan for take-off is aggressive, with a 30-foot prototype scheduled for its first flight in late 2017 and a 140-foot drone currently in development to begin flights from Los Angeles to Shanghai, China, in 2020.

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