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If there weren’t enough autonomous vehicle innovations on horizon for you already, the Natilus Commercial Delivery Drone is half the size of a 747 and designed to fly at an altitude of around 20,000 feet. More importantly than that, the drone being developed by the California-based startup is designed to fit into the niche right between the cargo ship and the Boeing 747 in terms of price, time and capacity. The example the company cites is a journey from LA to Shanghai with 200,000lbs of cargo. With a cargo ship, it takes 504 hours at a cost of $61,000. With a Boeing 747 it takes 11 hours at a cost of $260,000. The Natilus Commercial Delivery Drone can do it in 30 hours at a cost of $130,000. In other words, it’s 17x faster than a standard cargo ship and 50% the cost of a Boeing 747. Even with three quarters of a million dollars in venture capital and some very talented aerospace partners on board, we don’t think we’re going to see these in the sky any time soon, but Natilus thinks they’ll have production units available by 2020.


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