• Mon. Dec 11th, 2023

Introducing Droneliner – shipping containers in the sky – sUAS News – The Business of Drones


Sep 30, 2023

Droneliner is a transformational global freight system. It carries 40 or more lightweight 20ft shipping containers in a remotely-piloted roll-on/roll-off aircraft, providing same-day/next-day worldwide bulk delivery.Decisions to ship by air or sea come down to two factors – Cost and TimeAir freight is cost-prohibitive due to the limited payload, the amount and cost of fuel used, the complexities of the loading/unloading process and the crew payrollSea freight takes much longer (weeks instead of days) but it costs less.  Containers make sea freight work efficiently and at low cost but current aircraft are not designed to handle them.Droneliner can reduce the cost of airfreight by more than 70% and bring it down to levels comparable to sea freight whilst also reducing the delivery time and reducing emissions.  It makes airfreight a viable option for many more goods.Inefficient Repurposed AirlinersToday’s air freight planes were designed and built to carry passengers not containers.   Shipping containers simply won’t fit in round-sided fuselages.   Ex-passenger airliners are only suitable for carrying small packages.   It’s impossible to utilise all the space in a hold with a domed roof.           Archaic Handling MethodsAir Cargo has to be unpacked and repacked onto netted pallets and ULDs by teams of manual labourers – four times per flight.   Manhandling each and every item is extremely labour intensive .  And all of this adds days of significant delays to the delivery process.Vulnerable Supply ChainsRecent events have shown how easy it is for supply chains to get blocked or closed.  Pandemics and fears of infection create fragile ecosystems for traditional staffed ports and transport methods.  This can add time and cost to the supply chain.Clogged PortsShipping ports are getting busier and more congested as container ships grow in number and in size. And airports still prioritise passenger traffic and flow adding to the delays in the delivery of cargo.   Again, adding time and cost to the supply chain.Droneliner provides the answerLightweight intermodal 20-ft containersNo pilots (a long-haul airliner needs multiple crew)Heavy lifting (200-ton or 350-ton payload)90%+ reduction in handling costsEfficient roll-on/roll-off freight system6,500-mile rangeLifts 40 or 70 5-ton carrying 20ft containersHyperactive: 1 hour turnaround Suitable for military and civilian useUltra-low-drag airframeOff-the-shelf componentsLow-cost modular constructionA fraction of the operating costs95% reduction in CO2 emissions Fuel efficient power systemsDroneliner is designed to be the most fuel efficient long haul cargo aircraft.  With the greatest ratio of payload to fuel; hybrid systems to support take-off, landing and taxing; regenerative power supplies with no bleed air and an aerodynamic design focussed on fuel efficient drag reduction.SAF ready and Hydrogen CompatibleDroneliner’s fuel efficiency makes it the perfect candidate for the more expensive and scarce SAF and Hydrogen fuel solutions.  With a Payload to Fuel ratio of 4:1 compared to current cargo planes with anything up to a 1:4 ratio, Droneliner allows the use of sustainable fuels on the journey to Net Zero whilst still massively reducing operating costs. Removing people from the plane allows far more flexibility in engine placement and fuel management.  And unlike existing cargo planes that often have to break the journey in locations such as Anchorage to take on more fuel and more crew, Droneliner’s fuel efficiency allows it to make genuine long haul journeys in a single flight.Low Operating CostsSame-day/next-day intercontinental fulfilment3x to 6x the payload of conventional freightersOperating costs at a fraction of existing aircraft21x the fuel-efficiency per ton/kilometreMuch lower payroll componentVast capacity (2,000 or 3,500 cubic metres)Simple, low-cost loading/unloading methodsRevolutionizes airport flow-ratesNon-stop long haul flights without intermediate breaksThe AircraftDL200Single boosted engine + EV power Two decks36 – 40+ containers350 tons MTOW160 – 200 tons payload6,500nm/12,000km rangeDL350Twin engines + EV power Three decks70 – 80+ containers600 tons MTOW300 – 350 tons payload6,500nm/12,000km rangeThe MarketsBulk same-day/next-day intercontinental deliveryTargets just-in-time, sell-by & must-have marketsIdeal for Food, Pharmaceuticals, Flowers, Fashion, Automotive, ElectronicsDroneliner is a multi-purpose platform for:       –Military & Civilian Containerised Intermodal Freight       –Air-to-air refueling (tow-and-lock fuel tanks)       –Military air-drop (with remote ‘pinch-point’ release)       –Disaster relief & virus-free unmanned delivery       – Emergency aid and supplies

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