FedEx Aims High as US Authorities Eye Cargo Drones More Favourably
Commercial drones moving cargo beyond small amounts of pharmaceuticals are inching closer in the US.
The authorities there are considering proposals for drone corridors, and FedEx is targeting 2023 for trials of the Chaparral autonomous aircraft between its sort centres.
Quote from The Loadstar: Interest in heavy cargo drone activities is on the rise. In February, forwarder Flexport made headlines with a tentative order for two 100-tonne cargo drones from California-based developer Natilus, with an option for a third.
Natilus is planning a fleet of four drone models, with payloads of 3.8 tonnes, 60 tonnes, 100 tonnes and 130 tonnes, to serve airports just like the commercial aircraft they would compete or interline with. The drones will use the same ULDs and ground handling equipment as regular freighters.
Rather than operate its drones itself, Natilus plans to design, build and sell its unmanned aircraft like a traditional aircraft manufacturer.