DLR Symposium on Automated Low-Altitude Air Delivery

Popular projects of Amazon, DHL, UPS, Boeing and recently formed knowledge centers in the context of unmanned cargo aircraft show the increasing interest in unmanned airborne transportation. Moving forward with new concepts, DLR (German Aerospace Center) has conducted a four year research project between 2016 and 2019 on cargo drones with up to a one metric ton payload capacity. This project took advantage of a newly established operational risk approach introducing a new perspective on regulating the safety of unmanned aviation.

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Drone-based package delivery has environmental advantages, study shows

Drone-based package delivery

One annoyance of ordering items from the internet is waiting for delivery. That’s why many companies are set on making sure you get your items as quickly as possible — like Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping.

But shipping, especially fast, comes at an environmental cost. Previous studies have shown that moving goods by conventional aircraft is four times more carbon-intensive than by truck, which is 10 times more carbon-intensive than rail. Since many companies including Amazon, UPS, Boeing and Flirtey are working toward adding drones to speed up the delivery process and greenhouse gases are releasing into Earth’s atmosphere at an alarming rate, it’s important to look at the potential environmental footprint of delivery drones. 

A group of researchers released a study Tuesday in Nature Communicationsthat looks at energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of drone deliveries. Using a model, they found there could be environmental benefits to using drones versus trucks in some scenarios. Continue reading “Drone-based package delivery has environmental advantages, study shows”

Amazon, Boeing, GE, Google announce plans to develop private UTM system for drones

UTM system

During last week’s FAA Symposium in Baltimore, Amazon, Boeing, GE, and Google announced that they are ready to start working on the development of a private Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system for drones. Testing in conjunction with NASA is supposed to start in the next three months. The system will enable swarms of drones to fly a couple of hundred feet above the ground using cellular and web applications to avoid collisions and allow for remote tracking.


Amazon, Boeing, and Google have already expressed their visions of deliveries made by drones in the future. The companies have also started testing these new technologies on small scale. However, large-scale use of drones to make deliveries will require a robust drone traffic management system, that will prevent drones from crashing into each other or, worse, manned aircraft. Continue reading “Amazon, Boeing, GE, Google announce plans to develop private UTM system for drones”

Boeing unveils new electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV (video)

Boeing eVTOL

Boeing unveiled a new unmanned electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (Boeing eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. It is designed to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications.

“This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy,” said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. “We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we’ll look back on this day as a major step in that journey.” Continue reading “Boeing unveils new electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV (video)”