December 7 will mark a milestone for UK and Bulgaria-based unmanned aircraft developer and operator Dronamics, with the unveiling of its “Black Swan”, an unmanned aircraft capable of transporting 350kg of cargo over 2 500km at a cost which it says is 50%+ lower than other airplanes.
“The craft can be monitored and managed remotely via satellite, and the whole system costs less than a sports car,” says Svilen Rangelov, co-founder and CEO.
The launch event will take place on the airfield of Sofia Airport in Bulgaria, but this is just the first step. Plans are in place to expand globally.
“The goal of Dronamics is to democratise airfreight and lower the cost of shipping everywhere,” he said.
Named “Black Swan” because the concept seemed unattainable, it is able to land on short and unpaved runways, enabling on-demand, point-to-point flights and a speedy same-day delivery, even to the most remote locations that would otherwise take days to reach over ground or sea.
“We are starting with domestic air networks in Europe and beyond with fleets of the Black Swan, taking advantage of the multitude of small airfields that are often unused, training local personnel as drone and logistics operators, and partnering with local industry to provide a valuable lifeline of getting goods in and out of small, remote, mountainous and/or island communities within hours at a cost that is often below even road transportation,” Rangelov added.
Logistics operators have already bought into the concept, with DHL Deutsche Post signing an agreement to jointly develop solutions and offer same-day cargo drone deliveries to customers using DRONAMICS’ drone delivery network and Black Swan drones.
The partnership aims to combine Dronamics’ middle-mile cargo drones with DHL’s first and last-mile services. As part of the agreement, Dronamics will provide equipment and expertise to operate the unmanned drone flights, employing staff in handling and technical roles. The first commercial flights of the same-day drone cargo services are expected to begin in 2022.