Exclusive: Natilus Offers First Look at Freight Drone Prototype

Natilus is launching its first drone, by the second quarter, and Mobility Buzz has obtained the first look at the prototype.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has been “on a sprint” since June 2016 when it received a $750,000 seed funding round from Draper Associates, Aleksey Matyushev, Natilus’ co-founder and chief executive, told Mobility Buzz.

Natilus aims to build a large-scale commercial drone the size of a Boeing 777 to help reduce the cost of air freight by 50%, Matyushev said. The company focuses on shipping goods, such as perishables, pharmaceuticals, and high-tech products. Natilus will cater to middle-freight forwarders and integrators, such as the UPS or Fedex.

The prototype, called “Nemo,” is about the size of a small predator military drone, Matyushev said.

After the release of Nemo, Natilus will seek a Series A round this summer, Mobility Buzz has learned. Natilus will then continue to develop a second, full-scale prototype — similar to the example on the company’s website. The website image is a high-concept prototype of what Natilus hopes to achieve, Matyushev said, which is a drone capable of transporting 200,000 pounds of cargo from Los Angeles to Shanghai in 30 hours at the cost of $130,000. This example makes the drone 17 times faster than a ship (which takes 504 hours and costs $60,000) and 50% cheaper than a Boeing 747 (which takes 11 hours but costs $260,000).

Separately, Matyushev said that passenger drones are a possibility for Natilus, but it will not happen for a long time, as it is not currently part of the company’s business plan.

Check out the first image of the prototype below:

The company’s first prototype, dubbed “Nemo,” will be released by the second quarter.

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