Drones are without a doubt the future of delivery with faster and more efficient transit times. The problem with current ideas is that all of them are the same, they carry light payloads over short distances. Dronamics looks to separate themselves from the pack with a cargo drone called Black Swan that can carry payloads weighing up to 800 pounds over a range of 1,550 miles.
The Black Swan
Designed by Svilen and Konstantin Rangelov of Bulgaria, the Black Swan is the first airplane designed in the nation in 70 years. It is a fixed-wing drone that has a single propeller on the front nose and is powered by a gasoline engine. Like all other drones, the Black Swan can be monitored via a satellite signal while in transit.
With this prototype, the Black Swan uses a Rotax engine which is a common piston engine in the aviation realm. Konstantin thinks this is a win because you won’t need to use jet fuel or batteries that have a limited range and are quite heavy.
The current prototype is built at a 1:4 scale to what the end product will be and is made of composite materials that are affordable. The software is being developed by the brothers themselves. The prototype has a 13-foot wingspan and is able to land on uneven surfaces so that more places can be reached. This is actually how testing has been done as the Black Swan is completing test flights at different airfields across Bulgaria. According to Konstantin, and is important because:
“This meant we can create an aircraft the size of a bush plane, and we could make it land at even very short runways, significantly expanding the number of towns that we can connect.”
Dronamics hopes to sell their cargo drone for sub $100,000 after the full-scale prototype is designed by late 2019. This is a lot less expensive than typical cargo aircraft that go for around $500,000. With this price difference also comes a general difference in the cargo these aircraft can carry. The Black Swan will carry individual items as opposed to palleted items as there simply is just not enough space on the aircraft. On their idea, Konstantin stated:
“We focused on getting a payload that could match the most common type of ground vehicle in the world—the small cargo van,”
What makes Dronamics stand out is their new approach to drone delivery. They want to deliver items over long distances, not across a few miles in urban areas. Rangelov described the Black Swan by saying:
“Most small delivery drones are an attempt to solve the last-mile problem. They are the bike messenger, we are the cross-country truck.”
Boeing has looked to get in on the cargo drone scene as they have developed an aircraft that is entirely different. It looks like a traditional quadcopter with four motors and runs off of electricity. The kicker: it only carries 500 pounds, this is 300 pounds shy of beating the Black Swan.
Regardless of which drone can carry more, both of them are incredible ideas that show the what package delivery by drone is capable off. Drones continue to inch their way towards becoming a normal piece of equipment used by companies across the globe.
What do you think about the Black Swan? Let us know in the comments below.
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Photo credit: Wired and Dronamics