Exclusive: Natilus Offers First Look at Freight Drone Prototype

  • Emma Sandler
  • February 21, 2017
  • 3

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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