Beijing - A Chinese company is working on a drone that can carry 20 tons of cargo, the world's biggest commercial unmanned aerial vehicle. It's the vision of Sichuan Tengden Technology; an innovative high-tech enterprise set up by Chinese aviation experts and a State-owned investment company.
The cargo drone will have eight engines, a wingspan of 41 meters and will be able to fly up to 7500 kilometers, according to the company.
It doesn't come close to a Boeing 747-8F. The jumbo jet can carry up to 134 tons of cargo. But this drone could at least be able to carry one-seventh of a 747's capacity and deliver its freight all alone.
In addition to cargo flights, the operational area of the super-drone might be the monitoring of forest fires, cartography and disaster control. The first flight is planned for 2020. The drone will carry the cargo between the two hulls, similar to Virgin Galactic's White Knight.
It can help companies to hold a leading position in the market when competing with counterparts from other regions,says Chen Hong, Executive Vise President of Sichuan Tengden Technology.
However, the Chinese are not the only ones planning such a thing. The California startup Nautilus is planning a drone for up to 90 tons of cargo capacity. It would be 60 meters long and should also fly in 2020 for the first time. The promoters point out that the costs could be approximately halved compared to conventional air freight.
Boeing has recently introduced a cargo drone that can carry up to 227 kilograms.
Picture: Illustration of a drone from Nautilus to be operational in 2020