The Future of Logistics is All Up in the Air? Two New Modes of Transportation

There have been some exciting new developments in the world of logistics this year; the news of a predicted slow growth in the industry for the next five years hasn’t stopped innovation. The logistics industry has been creating exciting new developments along all the stages of the supply chain. From 3D printing to robots that organize your warehouse.

This week we’d like to focus on two new potential modes of transportation that can drastically change the future of what we perceive to be core tenets of the logistics industry today. Namely, one that stems from the military and one that has long been forgotten from the golden age of flight.

From the Military to Your Front Door

The first of the two new modes of transportation being explored is the commercial applications of the military drone. Drones, by definition are unmanned aerial vehicles (or systems). They are, according to Chris Andersen (creator of DIY Drones and co-founder of 3D Robotics):

“Aircraft that have the capability of autonomous flight, which means they can follow a mission from point to point (typically guided by GPS, but soon this will also be possible through vision and other sensors)… Usually drones carry some sort of payload, which at a bare minimum includes cameras or other sensors as well as some method to transmit data wirelessly back to a base.”

Source: Wikipedia Commons
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Recent developments in technology have made the production of drones quite cheap. You can actually purchase your very own drone with cheap models ranging from the $350-500 range with fewer features or in the $1000 range you can get one with many of the non-weapon based features that come with military grade drones.

Unfortunately for the North American market, the US Federal Aviation Administration is currently in limbo and won’t be testing out commercial transport drones until at least 2015. But that doesn’t mean other countries haven’t already taken the initiative to make it happen.

One of China’s biggest delivery companies, SF Express, has already received government permission and is testing their drones with the intention to deliver goods to remote areas. But it seems that drone delivery might be useful for more than just remote areas, some experts suggest that drone delivery can be extremely useful in congested city centers. Drones are said to have the potential help alleviate both traffic and pollution problems in China’s major cities.

Bringing Back the Zeppelin

The Aeroscraft in construction
The Aeroscraft in construction
Zeppelin’s have not had the best reputation ever since the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, but over 75 years later have we developed enough as an advanced society to bring it back? Worldwide Aeros Corp. thinks so. Founded by Igor Pasternak, the company has introduced their first zeppelin for transporting commercial goods: the Aeroscraft.

With the intention to not just be another mode of air transportation for transporting goods across the globe, the Aeroscraft is actually intended for making humanitarian relief and military missions easier and more practical. Worldwide Aeros Corp. boasts that their zeppelin is not only cost effective and more environmentally friendly (it uses approximately one third as much fuel as a cargo plane), but also more practical as it doesn’t require airports or roads. The lack of need for airports is actually a unique key feature of these zeppelins as it really adds convenience with regards to delivery sites.

So what do you think of these two new developments?

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