How much asparagus will real delivery drones lift?


Big laughs all around at the misfortunes of Dutch restaurateur Ronald Peijnenburg. Every year Ronald creates a stunt to highlight asparagus season. This year the turn of the delivery drone to fly the vegetable from the farm to plate at his Michelin-starred restaurant. In previous years Formula 1 cars and hot air balloons have been called to duty.

I must admit my interest was piqued by the 2CV, I have had four of them but not the most excellent pickup shown. Anyhow the video.

Mist surrounding the multirotor suggests it was not the finest of days for flying and highlights an issue with the current drone delivery fever.

They don’t like the weather.

Did they include the crash because otherwise its a very dull video? I think it might be becoming Rolands best marketing effort to date. Better tip my hat to him and link his joint

Anyhow back to where I think the real autonomous delivery money will be made, not the last five miles (a point where a bicycle is all weather and just as quick)

I think the delivery drone explosion will start with companies like FedEx.

According to Wikipedia, FedEx already has access to a fleet of 243 Cessna Caravan aircraft operated as FedEx Feeder.

FedEx Feeder is the branding applied to all FedEx Express propeller-driven aircraft which feed packages to and from airports served by larger jet aircraft.

In the United States and Canada, FedEx Express operates FedEx Feeder on a damp lease program where the contractor will lease the aircraft from the FedEx fleet and provide a crew to operate the aircraft solely for FedEx. All of the feeder aircraft operated in the United States and Canada are owned by FedEx and because of this all of the aircraft are in the FedEx Feeder livery. Just like regional airlines, the contractor will operate the aircraft with their own flight number and call sign.

Outside the United States with the exception of Morningstar Air Express, the contractor will supply their own aircraft, which may or may not be in the FedEx Feeder livery. Depending on the arrangement with FedEx, the contractor may be able to carry cargo for other companies with the FedEx cargo.

Lets assume that the aircraft fly twice a day that’s 486 pilots needed to operate them if the sectors are of any length. These pilots are generally hour building youngsters.

The aircraft has a useful payload in the region of 2000 kgs with a 77 kg pilot driving. Getting rid of the driver would mean that FedEx could potentially lift an extra 37422 kgs of freight a day. Of course it might also mean that the aircraft can fly more sectors as no flight time limitations would be applied to a pilot. If those pilots were on the ground overseeing flight ops they could change shift mid flight. Just like the military do.

The aircraft is type certified and would be no more dangerous in the airways system unmanned than manned. Its not all weather but it can fly in much much much more weather than any 5 kg lifting platform currently in development.

The infrastructure is in place already at the regional airfields that FedEx Feeder currently fly to. Fuel, hangers engineers. Nobody on the ground needs to be retrained they all know what they are doing with the aircraft and many engineers would welcome less back chat from pilots.

Lets bring it back around to that 5 kg lifting multirotor with your favourite DVD on board or a box of chocolates for the wife’s birthday that you forgot.  It would take 7484 of them to deliver just the extra cargo FedEx could move daily if their fleet was unmanned.

Right enough of this I’m taking an idea off to either Kickstarter or Cessna I’m not sure which one carries more clout in the modern world.