As globalization continues to push e-commerce and international travel to new highs, traditional modes of transport and logistics have become increasingly stressed to keep up with demand. Today's global economy is more reliant than ever on yesterday's outdated infrastructure, which is increasingly bogged down by traffic-stricken highways and crowded skies. One company sees this burgeoning challenge as the perfect opportunity: use today's most disruptive technologies to create a more efficient, autonomous, and self-governing cargo and transportation economy. DEEP AERO -- an innovative blockchain company -- is developing an aviation economy powered by AI, blockchain, and drones that will act as an on-demand logistics system, and later, a fully-functioning transportation system capable of private transportation. The current international medium of aviation and flight logistics is overburdened by the skyrocketing demand of a growing global middle class of developing countries and businesses that service this class.
Sending a package via air mail can sometimes be too expensive a proposition, which makes people settle for shipping cargo over long distances. However, airfreight's advantage over shipping in terms of speed can't be denied. Now, the whole scenario may soon change for the better. Natilus, a Richmond, California-based startup is working on a plan to use large, plane-sized drones, which could transport around 200,000 pounds in a single trip from Los Angeles to Shanghai, which would cost half of what it costs on regular airfreight. The unpiloted, amphibious drone would be the size of a Boeing 777 airplane and could change the way the logistics industry works.
It is said that there are 100,000 freighters on the seas and that 90% of everything you have has come via container ship. The first time I saw Hong Kong Harbour from my swank room at the JW Marriott what struck me most was the number of container ships. As I scanned the waters I counted several dozen of the floating giants and imagined everything onboard was coming out of China and going somewhere on the planet. Then the goods are sent off to their respective warehouses, where another delivery vehicle most likely takes it to another vendor or supplier where it might eventually end up in your garage. Just thinking about this one aspect of transportation and logistics is mind boggling.
More than a third of transport and logistics executives believe that robotic process automation (RPA) will bring about the biggest change in their industry in the next decade. Almost a quarter (24%) expect that artificial intelligence (AI) will fundamentally change the transport and logistics sector. The survey of 100 transport and logistics executives for co-location company Digital Reality found that nine in 10 respondents (91%) are continually looking to increase their investment in their data infrastructure. More than a fifth (22%) are reserving between £10m and £50m of their budget for innovation and progression of data connectivity. Automation (70%), freight technology (60%) and real-time understanding of transport systems (58%) are the areas with the greatest potential to transform the industry, according to the survey.
The infrastructure to support traditional deliveries has been strained ever since the growth in online orders. What's more, the projected growth will exceed anything UPS, FedEx and the like can currently support. Because of that, companies like Amazon have been working on both an air-drop solution using drones to autonomously drop packages at customers doors, while others have been working on delivery robots. That's why some believe autonomous UAVs and robots might work together on the delivery trucks of the future. I talked to two people who care quite a lot about what this all means from the Engadget stage at CES2017: Paul Dragos, a flight trainer for FAA certification at UXV University and Henry Harris-Burland, the marketing head of Starship Technologies, a company that makes a delivery bot.