Large drone manufacturer Natilus has closed a second round of seed funding. Natilus is close to a test flight for its 2200 lb 30-foot prototype cargo drone ahead of a full commercial launch in 2020.
Natilus claims that its large cargo-capacity UAV will sit in a sweet spot between sea freight and traditional air freight which make up sizeable proportion of the $15.5tn global freight market. This is achieved through a blend of speed and and price against currently delivery options.
"Today's freight sector is limited to just two choices when it comes to meeting customer demand – an expensive 14-hour route by air or a slow-going 21-day ocean trip. Why haven't there been more options?" said Tuff Yen, Founder and President of Seraph Group, a Natilus investor. "Natilus's value proposition, the ability to provide cost-effective cargo container-sized air options, creates a far-reaching impact on cost of goods, logistics, finance and commerce."
The company’s large-scale drones will be made of carbon fiber composites with turbofan and turboprop engines. The next iteration will be a 12000 lb drone and long terms plans include a 950,000lb version capable of carrying 120 tons over trans-Pacific routes.
Aleksey Matyushev, CEO of Natilus, said:
“The new round of financing will allow us to scale the team to finish design of our 12,000-pound e-commerce drone, while at the same time growing our flight-testing operation for our 2,200-pound, 30-foot prototype."