in 2017 we’ve already seen self-driving cars, autonomous drone taxis, and car-drone hybrids that are really for both road and sky. naturally, it wasn’t going to be long before someone designed a full blown drone-airplane concept. the startup in question—natilus—has proposed self-flying drones the size of boing 747s that could be used to transport goods in the place of cargo ships. the drones would cut costs in half in comparison to using a boeing 747, and could travel a major 17X faster than a standard cargo ship.

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the california-based startup has already recieved $750,000 in funding from venture capitalist tim draper to make its 30-foot long delivery drones a reality. although the idea of an unmanned craft full of 700 pounds of goods gliding casually though the air sounds rather futuristic, the size and weight of natilus’ crafts will be similar to that of the military predator drones already in use by the USAF.

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the autonomous delivery drones would fly at an altitude of around 20,000 feet–that’s a huge 10,000 meters below the average altitude at which commercial passenjer jets fly. the since it’s almost a given that the unmanned crafts would likely not be approved by the govenment to fly over densely populated ares, natilus’ crafts are designed to take off and land in water. the vehicles would then do a bond-esque sky-to-see conversion, taxiing in to a port where their cargo could be unloaded. natilus’ first prototype is set to be ready for testing this summer, and if all goes to plan, to finish production by 2020. should the production be successful, natilus would go on to sell drones to other delivery companies for use.

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