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Revolutionizing Air Cargo, 20kg at a time

Tags: World Cargo Symposium   Andreas Raptopoulos   unmanned aerial vehicles    Flying Donkeys

Oliver Evans on Friday, March 28, 2014 3:25 PM

There is nothing like a drone to create a bit of a buzz in the air cargo industry. I therefore take my hat off to IATA for inviting Andreas Raptopoulos, the Co-founder and owner of Matternet, to explain, at this year’s World Cargo Symposium, the challenges of transportation in certain parts of the world where roads are either non-existent, or liable to be washed away (together with any vehicles upon them) at the start of each rainy season. Andreas then described the opportunity for unmanned aerial vehicles or drones to deliver or pick-up small and urgently needed parcels in such areas. And he capped his performance by controlling with a hand-held device the short flight of his prototype drone from the back of the room to the stage. All good fun and soon-to-be-forgotten? I hope not, for all our sakes.

The fact is that our industry is far too busy with itself, and with the here-and-now. Plenty to do there of course, but we must open our minds to the future, and be ready to shape it. Fred Smith, the Founder and CEO of Fedex, who was another distinguished speaker at the World Cargo Symposium, eloquently showed how airfreight (managed by forwarders and airlines) is losing out not only to seafreight, but to integrated transport. And if you look more closely, our airplanes and trucks are competing not just with ships, but with trains, and tuk-tuks in Bangkok, or scooters in Delhi, and indeed with donkeys in Africa.

Which brings me back to drones, and, yes, Flying Donkeys. This is the name of a challenge announced this week, in which 33 teams from Africa, Australia, Europe, India and North America will demonstrate the capabilities, safety and benefits of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Africa and beyond. The participating aerial designs are many, as are the powertrains and cargo delivery strategies. Fun, yes, but the practical implications are many. The profitable deployment of such a network of Flying Donkeys is for tomorrow, but there is no doubt that drones will play a role in the supply chains of the future. A future that is not so far away: a future that we can shape.

So instead of dismissing videos or demonstrations or projects involving cargo drones as entertainment, let us use them to open our minds. To stimulate innovation in our own thinking and planning. To talk about, and learn from the outside world, the future world, instead of, well, droning on about today’s problems and issues.

So, how does it feel to be part of a revolutionary, progressive, innovative industry?

It sure feels good, if you ask me.

Thank you for tuning in.


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Published by kushal kumar on Saturday, August 30, 2014 4:44 PM
CONCLUSION :- " Downward trend in world economy is likely to be in mild form during November, 2014 to April, 2015, to grow somewhat intense during May, 2015 to October, 2015, becomes harsh during November, 2015 to July, 2016. Such areas of life as minerals and metals, foodcrops, energy resources , defence and security of nations are likely to bear the brunt of these trends. Collective wisdom in decision making, communication systems, aviation industry, and the cinema , music and TV industries are also , in addition, likely to be touched by these trends. Countries or regions whose names begin with the letters B , E , EU, N, O, P, U or V may need to implement multilevel approach to challenges during this period". This is the substance or salient feature of my article - " Stressful times ahead for world economy in 2015 and 2016"- published online on June 2, this year at Astrologyweekly.

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