Articles, Blog

How Drones Could Change The Shipping Industry

October 23, 2019

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 methods –
ships and trucks – have 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.


  • Reply pasoundman September 21, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Exactly what weight package can a drone carry ? How the heck does a drone deliver a parcel. This idea is plain bonkers. Some of the comments beg belief. 747 sized drones ? Good luck with that.

  • Reply peerarid kaleram September 22, 2019 at 1:44 am

    Can its stolen goods from shooting by someone?

  • Reply قلَمَ مَګة qalammakata September 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    ماذا اذا كانت الرياح عاتية
    واحوال الطقس غير مستقرة
    في غالب الاوقات
    مثل مناطق تكساس نيو مكسيكو
    وغيرها من مثيلاتها في العالم
    شكرا على هذا المجهود المفيد

  • Reply Edwin Candano September 22, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    National security problem if to many drones flying. Sometime enemy drones can carry and deliver bombs.

  • Reply AGG Production September 22, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    Just shoot down those mini drones and you have a free product.

  • Reply ckryegrass11 September 23, 2019 at 2:07 am

    There is a shortage of pilots because they dont want to pay a wage good enough to attract people.

  • Reply wooyyeah September 23, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Andrew Yang should include this to his speeches.

  • Reply mawi boy September 23, 2019 at 5:59 am

    Its a drug cartel new instrument…nice one

  • Reply Solara Solarwind September 23, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Andrew Yang Predictions are coming true!

  • Reply Capoeiristadiogo September 23, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    Good way to deliver weed and chop it up afterwards

  • Reply whxtxrxsx September 24, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    what i like is that instead of delivering it at your door so someone could steal it, ppl can just build or buy some pre-fab drone pad that you could install at your house roof, and the drone can deliver it there, of course youd have to create some kind of small roof hatch to get the package without having to step out on the roof.

  • Reply Sushi Martinez September 24, 2019 at 5:47 pm

    What if some big drone came in front of your house with those fast spinning blades and killed a kid or a dog or something. Kinda seems hazardous

  • Reply Driving School 1 September 25, 2019 at 5:23 pm

    So you going to have all these flying overhead in high-density area?? You didn't hire a consultant for safety?

  • Reply Photon Beam September 26, 2019 at 8:57 am

    It's not shortage of truck drivers , they just fired

  • Reply Green Giant September 27, 2019 at 1:55 am

    There’s not a shortage of truck drivers in the US, there’s a shortage of truck drivers willing to work for peanuts in the US.

  • Reply ArabianKnight7771 September 27, 2019 at 5:45 am

    This won't fly

  • Reply vincent mwahu September 27, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Only makes sense on less weights goods

  • Reply snifferdogg forfreedom September 27, 2019 at 5:10 pm

    Low pay long hours.

  • Reply snifferdogg forfreedom September 27, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Weight on a drone good luck wid dat.

  • Reply Chris Estabon September 27, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    People aren’t entitled to getting things immediately when they what it. Waiting is good for them. It teaches them to plan.

  • Reply titan81 September 28, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Drones are dangerous, as recent drone assult to the saudi's oil facility & who can monitor the shipment of other dangerous goods?

  • Reply Angel Bank's Lopez September 28, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Too expensive

  • Reply TC Boggs September 29, 2019 at 12:28 am

    There is not a truck driver shortage. There is a truck driver retention problem because the driver's are not being paid properly. Shocking I know that people demand a decent wage for a hard job. So please, dig a little deeper than the statistics the ATA spoon feeds the media.

  • Reply Josh Donn September 29, 2019 at 4:11 am

    Or we could just pay pilots a decent wage, and help them through school to address the worker shortage. Nah that's unthinkable lets use giant robot planes

  • Reply mrclinf85 September 29, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    I'm suprises they didn't say cargo submarines

  • Reply Corrine Tsang September 29, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Drones can attack the SA oil refineries.A contrajner  ship will be an easy target.

  • Reply imcanada September 29, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    here I am waiting for 2 months fro my order to arrive having paid 30€ in shipping and people are complaining about having to wait 2 days and paying nothing for it.

  • Reply gacha girl September 29, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I would be more worried about the other things that can be done with these drones.

  • Reply steven jackson September 29, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    This story was all over the place.

  • Reply Misael Cruz September 30, 2019 at 12:37 am

    Give truck drivers back their freedom to drive as much as they feel pleased!!

  • Reply jatan shah September 30, 2019 at 2:48 am

    This makes no sense. Drones make sense for emergencies and remote places. It can't possibly replace shipping containers

  • Reply Eat a Dic September 30, 2019 at 3:11 am

    I am going to be a drone 🏴‍☠️

  • Reply September 30, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Drones will have their niche for light packages and fast delivery.
    The heavy shipping containers will probably switch to rail, because China is building a global infrastructure for that.

  • Reply julio sosa September 30, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    If battery life is an issue, why not add solar panels to the drone?

  • Reply dominic russell October 2, 2019 at 4:20 am

    So long millions of jobs

  • Reply Scholarly Reader October 3, 2019 at 1:35 am

    Amazon is all talk no actions. They have been promoting space travels for years. Yet not a single space craft has been launched.

  • Reply Golden 47 October 3, 2019 at 1:54 am

    Just shoot down a drone and you a have free package.


  • Reply Black Mamba October 3, 2019 at 4:45 am

    Think about a drone carrying heavy load fails mid air right above residential areas..

  • Reply RAZIULLAH SYED October 3, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    What about costing?

  • Reply krepnata kadara October 3, 2019 at 5:34 pm

    If only global supply and demand could be fulfilled, i think such game changing overhaul is possible without serious long-term problem

  • Reply VMX October 4, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Just as when the railroads were built or the first cross country roads were built, people said it couldn't/shouldn't be done. With autonomous trucks being developed, it would make sense to have a separate highway system running east to west, north to south that only autonomous trucks can run on. Right now these vehicles have to "fit in" with human drives but with lanes designed just for them they can run constantly and then branch out at depots along the way.

  • Reply Khonh lo October 5, 2019 at 8:38 pm

    Imagine what happens to all the delivery truck drivers if drone can ship your goods from distribution center to your house in less than 12 hours? What will happen to the cities truck drivers? Right now, major shipping and goods companies are testing automated trucks on highway that doesnt require a lot of inputs from one distribution center to the other. Automated trucks cant drive on cities streets but drone can ship goods directly to the individual home. The future doesnt look good for high school grads and low skill workers.

  • Reply Christopher Rod October 7, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    You know how Elon Musk wants to construct the Hyperloop for people? I say he starts with shipping first. Show that they are safe and worth it. Automated hyper loops that deliver through a wide network of tubes traveling at 600 mph. Just googled and, as I suspected, turns out a company in Dubai is already testing it. Look up “DP World Cargospeed”. That ladies and gents, is the future of human travel AND cargo shipping. Of course it is expensive but I think it’s worth the investment. A conduit that has 600 mph containers should be elevated and out of the reach of most people (e.g. elevated to disable terrorists, drunk people, etc.). Bridge construction is traditionally significantly more expensive than at grade construction.

  • Reply kasa October 8, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Drones don't fundamentally change anything. It's just an transport medium that works without pilot. Not to mention flying is very energy intensive. Also, smaller your cargo and less distance there is, less efficient the whole process will be.
    Drones are just airplanes that are constantly on autopilot -.-
    I think drones will be amazing for very high priority goods, but it's just not something that will make a big change in logistics. More high speed rail on other hand could improve efficiency of cargo and travel big time. And it's just so much better for environment.

    Large airplanes exclusively made for cargo actually sounds like something that would be good to have, but you would think Boeing or Airbus would have already done it if it was economically viable choice. Both companies have resources to do so and a lot to gain if they could transport more cargo with less fuel. It's the thing that matters in air travel,

  • Reply baron eleve October 10, 2019 at 2:15 am

    How I wish Amazon adopts this delivery drones, I will be bringing them down daily with my skillful rock throwing ability. No drone flying half a mile from my house will be safe.

  • Reply Rayan Agarm October 10, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    4;40 1.2k$÷2klb=
    .48$ 4k$÷2klb=2$lb

  • Reply Rayan Agarm October 10, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    9:43 flipper toothache

  • Reply Quack Quark October 11, 2019 at 3:41 am

    Can't wait for battery powered shipping container drones.

  • Reply BE LIKE BRO. October 12, 2019 at 8:36 am

    So their will be drone Hunter's is it safe drone to fly freely carrying goods.

  • Reply Isaac Greenough October 14, 2019 at 12:54 am

    Northwest passage is opening more and more every day

  • Reply Jimmy Austin October 15, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Last mile maybe. But how many drones would it take to shift 40,000 tonnes of goods, like on a boat?

  • Reply Toraguchi Toraguchi October 15, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    Cost is everything, and drones today are costly to fly.

  • Reply Mark Lynskey October 15, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    Think the narrator just wanted an excuse to hang around a dock late at night

  • Reply Chuong Nguyen October 16, 2019 at 1:09 am

    And this is one of the f up, stupid video one can ever experience. Its just so stupid when consider container shipping, long distance shipping with drone.

  • Reply shawn l October 16, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    I call bs ..

  • Reply POC Skellington October 16, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Trucker is definitely a job that will be replaced by robots.

  • Reply Global Infrastructure October 16, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    3:20 DIe Deutsche AUTOBAHN <3

  • Reply Kelvin Faulkner October 17, 2019 at 8:17 am

    All new transport systems should have requirements to be environmentally friendly BEFORE they are allowed to go into service.

  • Reply Mashrur Arzon October 17, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    That truck at 8:53 reminds me of GTA San andreas :")

  • Reply Trump 2020 October 17, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    So more sales less jobs! Yup

  • Reply aat karelse October 17, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    cherry picking to make drone freight look good, but what about economics of scale, beating drones since before the word was coined !

  • Reply Tien De Great October 18, 2019 at 5:29 am

    Shortage in truck drivers?
    What a false statement!

    This thing got rid of many thousands of truck driver jobs. Nobody to be blamed, low cost.

  • Reply quocphu01 October 18, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Imagine drone hunting with sling shoot, new age crime

  • Reply This Guy October 19, 2019 at 12:08 am

    Who cares as long as they stop looking I'm my windows 🙄

  • Reply Phurlamu Sherpa October 19, 2019 at 3:37 am

    This is just gonna make more trump supporters. This is just dumb

  • Reply Richard Bowers October 19, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    What? What about air-way traffic? Just asking.

  • Reply Us Man October 20, 2019 at 3:19 am

    I am not comfortable with this drone plan at all.

    Plus it takes away real jobs. If you need more truckers increase the pay – it's supply and demand. Not that complicated.

  • Reply BillHK October 20, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Beijing has a container port? That's news to me.

  • Reply Carlo Jones October 20, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Still need people to strap on the package..
    This could be a false start being it serves to uber upper class consumers who wont steal the drone .
    This economy makes false starts grasping for 1% concerns thinking about mass markets.

  • Reply hyou zan ren October 21, 2019 at 11:46 am

    The title should be changed to "how cargo companies find a way to get rid their human employees with drones and robots!" 🤖🤖🤖

  • Reply mmouseav8r October 21, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    There isn’t a pilot shortage lol.

  • Reply Travis October 21, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Soooo who's going to buy all these products if all the good jobs are gone thanks to automation and drones? There are only s many rich people in the world and they are a small percentage of the population. Sooooo the math won't add up when middle class is almost non existent in the future. Where will the buyers come from?

  • Reply Relaxation Station October 21, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    🤔I had this idea 2 decades ago.🤔

  • Reply Newnice_Gqokinsimbi Sizwe October 21, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    technology wins again.

  • Reply Bradley Springfield October 21, 2019 at 7:53 pm

    SpaceX going to have this covered anywhere in the world 15min through space

  • Reply Justice Warrior October 21, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Why haven't they made a 1.5 km long nuclear powered cargo ships??

  • Reply Barbara Stamm October 21, 2019 at 8:57 pm

    the regulators just should eff off and let the companies figure out everything. If the companies incur damages they'll have to pay damages. eff the regulators.

  • Reply Barbara Stamm October 21, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    shortage in truck drivers just means that the prices of transportation by truck are too low and therefore the money for higher wages isnt there. thats all.

  • Reply Supreme Legion Jr October 22, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Missing if there's any regulations involved, etc…

  • Reply Hafiz Azman October 22, 2019 at 10:41 am

    One day.. No more jobs as Pilot…all be done by Ai

  • Reply PLATINUM GOLDEN October 22, 2019 at 11:50 am

    The technology is not there yet. Much needs to be done before we scale down the containers Delivey System

  • Reply kamgod October 22, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    We are doomed

  • Reply Joshua Ilac October 22, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    who ever filmed this is a idiot … ships from asian go to california, hawaii, washington and oregon …. ships from europe go to the east coast

  • Reply ?:? October 22, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    People are becoming increasingly impulsive overtime that's pretty scary. Humans who have no discipline are typically not very successful, spiritual, or of healthy mind.

  • Reply Bazoozoo October 22, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    too bad, if it is on CNBC it is probably a lie

  • Reply Adam Paula October 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    This video is stupid… Just add more drivers you dummy.

  • Reply Carol Preston October 22, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Drones are a terrorist text tool. With very little or no control…

  • Reply Planet Jigobot TV October 22, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Yang is trying to tell y'all. I hope were listening.

  • Reply Michael L October 23, 2019 at 2:38 am

    the day will come

  • Reply Jules Vivenes October 23, 2019 at 2:43 am

    nice that technology like this is coming around but this means less work for us , so that means the rich will get richer and the poor will die of hunger

  • Reply Martin Allen October 23, 2019 at 5:48 am

    Argos offers Same Day Delivery.


  • Reply Ram Raghu October 23, 2019 at 6:42 am


  • Reply Cecilia Marques Dicolla October 23, 2019 at 6:46 am

    AndrewYang 2020 the future estarte

  • Reply throwingshit October 23, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Yea more planes in the sky…. destroying our planet. I'm not talking about electric drones.

  • Reply Sam Ziouche October 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Pool….pan pan! Will drones well insured against drone hunting?

  • Reply RahimMRyan October 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Are they trying to defy physics? The container ships are the only logical solutions.

  • Reply LIFE TUBEtv October 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    How can you control weather then? To use your drone?

  • Reply mr. ram October 23, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Helicopters should be used

  • Reply David Pedder October 23, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Can we imagine our airspaces packed full of small drones. It's only a matter of time before a major air accident. Our airspaces is all ready crowded as it is now !!!

  • Reply Eomax 88 October 23, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Believe it or not ,flying a drone in Egypt is against law and will send you to jail for one year at minimum and 1000 US$ fine, I think using camels for shipping is more safe there.

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