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  • Today, container ships transport more than 90 percent of all goods in

  • the world and more than 4 trillion dollars worth of goods annually.

  • But it can take over a month for those goods to sail from Beijing to

  • New York.

  • By land, trucks move nearly 71 percent of all freight tonnage in the

  • United States.

  • Problem is, there's a shortage of truck drivers in the U.S.

  • So how do you speed up shipments while keeping personnel low?

  • The future of shipping looks very much unmanned.

  • Anything that has high levels of customization, anything that's

  • unpredictable, that should be done by air.

  • Many startups believe the answer is autonomous flying cargo drones

  • that can carry heavy loads and fly long distances.

  • All around the world, millions of people are benefiting from drones

  • already, and we're just at the tip of the iceberg.

  • The global drone logistics and transportation market accounted for

  • more than 24 million dollars in 2018, and that number is expected to

  • grow to 1.6

  • billion dollars in 2027.

  • These drones could be the disruption needed in a global supply chain

  • that has been largely unchanged since the 1950's.

  • Getting large shipments of products across large distances is

  • difficult. That's why Malcolm McLean created the shipping container

  • in 1956.

  • This standardize the shipping industry and allowed shipping to scale

  • in ways that weren't possible before.

  • For a typical product that is being shipped from overseas and then

  • received within the United States, that would involve trucking, ocean

  • freights, in some cases we're seeing the emergence of more rail being

  • used as it's becoming a more reliable mode of transportation.

  • But now, with programs like Amazon's one-day shipping, consumers are

  • looking for goods to get to them faster.

  • That means the standard shipping methodsships and truckshave to

  • be re-evaluated.

  • There is a seemingly insatiable demand for things right away by

  • consumers and that just keeps growing and people become increasingly

  • impossible over time.

  • What it seems like is the supply chains, which are wildly complex, are

  • built around the timeliness of air freight.

  • But the cost per item for air freight is significantly more expensive

  • when compared to sea and ground shipping.

  • We're at the point where you really need to have those high-value

  • goods or some kind of an emergency shipment would be an ideal

  • candidate for air freight because it cost so much.

  • In the United States in 2016, 11.6

  • billion tons of goods were shipped via truck, 1.8

  • billion tons were shipped via train, 740 million tons were shipped

  • via a cargo ship and only 5 million tons were shipped via airplane.

  • But using autonomous flying cargo drones to ship goods might bump

  • that number up.

  • Air freight is actually a mode of transportation that has increased

  • dramatically. It's still a small percentage of all freight being

  • moved, but if you look at the percentage change over the years, air

  • freight has been growing much more rapidly.

  • I think a big reason for that is the growth of e-commerce.

  • If you're living in a small village and you want to ship goods and be

  • a part of a global economy, often your freight link is by road or

  • rail and it takes quite some time for your goods to be transmitted

  • around the world.

  • So when we bring autonomy and scale into aviation, every community

  • can be connected with the rest of the world through a airborne

  • freight link.

  • And I think that that means massive potential for economic growth in

  • communities all over the world.

  • The main challenge is volume.

  • You just can't lift as much weight into the air as you can floated

  • along the sea, especially if you're trying to use battery powered

  • vehicles like many of the smaller drones we see today. Current

  • battery technology is incredibly heavy. Volans-i, a

  • drone company that has been working in this space since 2015 created

  • a hybrid vehicle that uses electric power to take off

  • vertically, then standard fuel to fly off horizontally.

  • So, if you build an all-electric vehicle, you have an 85 percent mass

  • fraction on the batteries.

  • So that means you can carry 15 percent the rest of the weight in

  • payload, which doesn't really make sense for cargo delivery.

  • See, the more volume you carry, the cheaper shipping becomes, even if

  • that means traveling longer distances.

  • Going in from Shanghai as an example, to the United States might take

  • about 28 days by ship, whereas by airplane it'll only take 14 hours.

  • But still, ships are cheaper.

  • A medium sized 2,000 pound box from Shenzhen, China to New York can

  • cost $1,200 by ocean, but it can cost $4,000 by air.

  • Natilus is working on getting that volume up and the costs down by

  • using jet fuel powered drones to autonomously fly goods long

  • distances, like across the ocean.

  • Natilus is building large-scale unmanned aircraft the size of Boeing

  • 747s to reduce global air freight costs by 50 percent.

  • It will do this by using a uniquely shaped vehicle designed for cargo,

  • not passengers, unlike other air freight carriers.

  • When Boeing and Airbus design airplanes meant for passengers, whatever

  • falls out is what the freight aircraft looks like and they're not

  • really optimized on volume.

  • It also wants to utilize pilots more effectively. Instead

  • of having two pilots on one single flight, it hopes to use one pilot

  • managing multiple flights remotely.

  • There's a huge bottleneck with pilots today, which is limiting the

  • expansion of air freight as well as passenger freight.

  • But Natilus is still not ready to get its cargo drones into the air

  • for deliveries.

  • Companies like Volans-i have already started making deliveries in

  • places like the Bahamas, a particularly difficult area for deliveries

  • because of the large distances between islands.

  • The company's goal is to alleviate the shipping strains of high need,

  • expensive shipping, like when a specific part needs replacing on a

  • production line, and it needs to be replaced quickly since time is

  • money.

  • I started Volans-i out of a problem that I saw while working at Tesla.

  • So imagine the Model 3 assembly line goes down for one hour. That

  • costs the business hundreds of thousands of dollars, in some cases

  • millions of dollars.

  • And at that point, the companies and businesses are motivated to get

  • that up-time and get the line going again at any cost.

  • And Volans-i is trying to help with that business and with that

  • problem.

  • Other companies are trying to lighten the load of the ever critical

  • last-mile delivery.

  • That's the portion of the shipping process that gets the product from

  • its last warehouse or shipping hub to your door, and trying to hasten

  • the delivery of medical supplies and samples for testing.

  • Zipline has been delivering supplies in Rwanda since 2016, Ghana

  • since April of 2019 and is expanding its service to the U.S.

  • this year.

  • UPS has teamed up with drone startup Matternet to quickly ship

  • medical supplies from a North Carolina hospital to labs for testing.

  • I think we can use this type of system to massively improve

  • health care in the country.

  • So imagine when you have to get that lab result back, how crucial it

  • is to get it on time.

  • And with a system like this, we can deliver the samples and then the

  • results much faster than we can do it with the traditional

  • transportation methods today.

  • But news of these delivery drones has been flying around for years.

  • Prime Air, Amazon's drone delivery system, was teased back in 2013

  • and it still hasn't rolled out the program, though Amazon recently

  • announced that it will launch delivery drones within months.

  • We're building fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and

  • deliver packages under five pounds to customers in under 30 minutes.

  • Well, the biggest thing I believe that's pacing the development of the

  • drone industry is regulation.

  • FAA regulations are still pretty strict on these autonomous flying

  • vehicles, and that has created a challenge for these drones.

  • Competition for airspace is becoming more and more heated as drones

  • of all sizes take to the air.

  • There have been some restrictions by the FAA that have restricted the

  • use of drones for delivery to consumer homes, and, you know, that's

  • something that needs to be overcome and they're continuing to work

  • on.

  • Autonomy brings a whole new set of public concerns, just as we've seen

  • with self-driving cars, because the public has grown to appreciate

  • the safety and the assurance of being able to fly from one place to

  • another. The regulators are hesitant to permit new technologies from

  • entering the airspace until they are really proven satisfactorily.

  • Another big concern when it comes to automation is jobs.

  • As you hear some of the challenges related to drones, that's one of

  • the things I've heard come up.

  • There would be this whole workforce needed to be able to manage this

  • drone network.

  • But this technology could help alleviate some of the worker shortages

  • that the shipping industry is facing.

  • I think what you're seeing today, the airline sector, for example, has

  • a massive pilot shortage and it's forecasted to only get worse than

  • the number of people that are going to be traveling by air is

  • expected to double over the next 15 years.

  • But customers, shippers and regulators all see the promise in these

  • autonomous flying vehicles for emergency deliveries, for incredibly

  • high speed home deliveries and even for large shipments of goods.

  • So I think that there's great opportunity here with unmanned cargo

  • aircraft to start proving out some of the technologies in a

  • lower-risk environment without people on board, and these same

  • technologies can eventually be introduced to the aircraft that we

  • will use for flying around cities to and from work.

  • And I'm really excited about skipping the terrestrial traffic as

  • well.

Today, container ships transport more than 90 percent of all goods in

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无人机如何改变航运业(How Drones Could Change The Shipping Industry)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 06 月 06 日
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