Pardon the pun, but there’s a massive “blended-wing” robot plane on the horizon.
This new type of aircraft has the potential to revolutionize cargo planes as we know them – and one day they might even fly themselves.
The start-up company behind the aircraft, Natilus, plans to fly it automatically but until that’s allowed, they’ll be controlled remotely.
As far fetched as that may sound, that’s not even the craziest bit.
Ground-based pilots will be able to control up to three Boeing 747-sized aircraft at once.
This isn’t a pipe dream, either; a full-scale prototype already took to the skies in April this year.
Apparently, the San Diego-based start-up aims to fit 60 percent more cargo on board than current aircraft, while also reducing 50 percent less carbon emissions.
The robot plane has a blended-wing design and diamond-shaped body meaning cargo – usually packed in rectangular pallets – will fit more easily inside and allow the plane to fly more efficiently.
According to the company’s CEO Aleksey Matyushev, moving cargo by sea is 13 times cheaper than by air – but takes 50 times as long.
Natilus intends to revolutionize the transport industry by providing the timeliness of air freight at an affordable cost reduction of 60 percent,” he said.
“From a freight perspective, it makes a lot of sense.
“It has 50 percent more volume internally, so it doubles the amount of revenue cargo per flight.”
Apparently, the revolutionary plane will be able to fly across the Pacific Ocean in 30 hours at just 20,000 feet, which is much lower than passenger planes.
As there’s no need for pilots on board, there’s isn’t a cockpit, landing gear or pressurization.
The $25 million robot plane would be towed by sea to ports and will carry more valuable goods than cargo ships.
These include perishable food, basic tech, vehicles and pharmaceuticals.
However, the robot plane isn’t the only incoming aircraft with a futuristic design.
We’ve seen a concept for a supersonic nuclear-powered plane that would fly from London to New York in just 80 minutes.
Then there’s a wild Star Trek-inspired supersonic hydrogen plane built for luxury and 1,100 mph speeds.
Time to start packing your bags.