Autonomous Freight Aircraft Achieves Design/Development Milestones
Natilus, Inc., the U.S. company working to democratize global freight transport by making air cargo more competitive, recently announced major milestones in the design and development of its fleet of autonomous aircraft and an important new contract with Collins Aerospace to provide specialized cargo loading systems.
Natilus is offering a family of autonomous cargo aircraft with greater efficiency and cost-savings by innovating the design of freight transport aircraft to increase cargo volume by 60%. This will lower the cost of freight operations by 60% and cut carbon emissions in half.
“Currently, 90% of all goods are transported worldwide via shipping, but 90% of all ‘value goods’ are shipped through air freight – just because of current capacity and cost,” explained Aleksey Matyushev, CEO and co-founder of Natilus. “Our goal is to dramatically change this equation through efficiencies of design and operations to make air freight more competitive to capture market share. Our new contract with Collins brings us another step closer to entering the cargo aircraft manufacturing market.”
“Collins Aerospace is a global leader in the design, manufacture and certification of advanced cargo handling systems for commercial aircraft,” said Alison Davidson, vice president and general manager, Cargo/Hoist & Winch for Collins Aerospace. “For the Natilus family of aircraft, we’re adapting proven cargo handling designs with millions of flight hours in service to create a new system that efficiently uses the additional space of the Natilus blended wing design to maximize cargo capacity.”
The Natilus contract with Collins is instrumental in creating efficiencies of operation, including increasing aircraft cargo volume. Collins is designing a specialized Cargo Loading System for the Natilus 3.8T prototype with rolling ball mats, attachments, and standard flip-up latches and will accommodate LD3-New and LD3-45 containers and bulk loads.
The Natilus family of cargo aircraft includes:
8T: 3.8 ton payload short-haul feeder UAV
N60T: 60 ton payload medium/long range UAV
N100T: 100 ton payload long-range UAV
N130T: 130 ton payload long-range UAV
The design of the Natilus 3.8T is complete and has undergone initial wind tunnel testing. Natilus also initiated production of the vertical tails of the N3.8T aircraft, another major milestone in the company’s timeline. Flights are scheduled to begin in 2023.
Natilus aircraft use existing ground infrastructure and standard air cargo containers, as well as offer remote piloting to produce an innovative turnkey solution for its customers. Natilus already has more than $6B in pre-orders.