Walmart Drone

Walmart And Amazon Drones Battle For Last-Mile Delivery Supremacy

Walmart and Amazon are engaged in a war of delivery drones. Although Amazon may be the largest e-commerce retailer, Walmart may have a structural edge enabling them to deliver groceries and household items by drone more quickly. Both players introduced short-range drones to transport small packages up to 5 pounds. According to Amazon, about 90% of products they sell weigh under 5 pounds.

Walmart claims they have a store within 10 miles of 90% of Americans. Amazon, by contrast, delivers from its fulfillment centers, usually located near major cities. That gives Walmart an edge until Amazon ramps up their rural presence.

Meanwhile, Amazon has patented a futuristic Jetson-style idea for distribution towers that look like beehives. The towers would function as fulfillment centers with landing pads for delivery drones, strategically located near high-density residential towers.

The current need for social distancing has accelerated a paradigm shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping with contact-free delivery.

Read more about the drone war between Walmart and Amazon at:

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/walmart-pilots-drones-to-fly-items-to-consumers-doorsteps
& https://www.freightwaves.com/news/amazon-now-authorized-to-fly-commercial-delivery-drones

(Photo credit: Amazon, via FreightWaves, and Walmart, via FreightWaves)

Amazon Drone in a Field

Amazon Drone

 

Heavy haul truck moves an excavator on a 9-axle rig

The Largest Energy Project In Canadian History Requires Import Of 1 Million Tons Of Oversized Construction Equipment

Shipments of massive excavators for the $40 billion LNG Canada energy project are shipped on board roll on/roll off ships to the Port of Tacoma, Washington. The equipment is driven on and off the ships via an enormous ramp with under-deck access. After arrival in Tacoma, they are hauled to Kitimat, BC for construction of the LNG facility and a 420 mile pipeline. The removable goose-neck trailers are fitted with 7 to 9 axles because transport is restricted to 34,000 lbs per axle most of the year. In snow and freeze/thaw conditions, the trailers are upgraded to 10-12 axles to redistribute the weight of the heaviest equipment.

Read more about this project’s complex logistics at:
https://www.joc.com/breakbulk/roro-cargo/high-and-heavy-hits-road-lng-canada-project_20200824.html

(Image: Spruce Hollow Heavy Haul moves an excavator from Port of Tacoma to Kitimat, BC, on a 9-axle rig. Photo credit: Spruce Hollow Heavy Haul.)

Cathy Pacific Aircraft

Airlines Retrofit Passenger Aircraft To Handle Cargo

Cathay Pacific supplements their cargo capacity and cuts some of their losses related to the pandemic by removing economy seats from Boeing 777 planes to transport more medical supplies, PPE and other critical shipments. They are required to keep the front and rear seat rows in place to protect the aircraft from cargo that could shift due to turbulence.  Cargo is placed in fire-retardant bags because passenger cabins aren’t equipped with fire-suppression systems.  The airline follows in the footsteps of Air Canada and Lufthansa who have reconfigured some passenger planes for cargo.

Read more about this trend at:
https://www.freightwaves.com/news/cathay-pacific-strips-seats-from-777-aircraft-for-cargo

(Image Credit: Cathay Pacific)

Airline with baggages secured to seats

Deuce Drone in air with package

Drone Delivery System Aims to Make Mid-Size Retail Chains Competitive With E-Commerce Giants

Deuce Drone announced a test of their last mile delivery system which is intended to make delivery directly from stores to consumers faster and more affordable. Rouses Market, which operates 64 grocery stores in the south, has partnered with Deuce Drone to test a same day delivery system by drones in order to make last mile delivery faster and less costly than vans, so they can compete with Amazon.

Read more at:
https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/rouses-markets-pilot-drone-delivery-groceries

(Image courtesy of: Commercial Drone Professional of Deuce Drone)

Fighter aircraft: McDonnel Douglas F-15

Galaxy C5 Cargo Aircraft Transports Massive Military Equipment

The US Air Force uses one of the largest aircraft in the world for intercontinental transport of massive pieces of military equipment such as jet fighters, helicopters, tanks and trailers. The only aircraft that rivals the Galaxy’s airlift capacity is the Russian Antonov which is chartered out for civilian transport of oversize cargo that cannot fit on conventional freighter aircraft. Although the Antonov carries more cargo, the Galaxy has more modern avionics and aerial refueling capacity. Fighter aircraft: McDonnel Douglas F-15

 C-5 Galaxy Cargo Aircraft

Aircraft: US Navy SEALs Mark V

 

Aircraft: Two M1 Abrams Tanks

Aircraft: Boeing CH-47 Chinook

Aircraft: A-10 Thunderbolt II

Aircraft: Webb Space Telescope

 

Aircraft: Sikorsky Ch-53E Stallion

Aircraft: C5 Galaxy, C-130 Hercules

(Photos from @aero.sonicboom on Instagram)

Man Directing Drone

New Drone System Developed For Long Distance Delivery

Civil drone operators are currently restricted to line-of-sight operation of one drone at a time to avoid collisions. Satellite operator, Inmarsat Group Holdings, has partnered with Altitude Angel LTD to operate drones over long distances safely by integrating a backup satellite connection for areas with no land-based communications . If they can prove safe operation to regulators, fleets of remotely operated drones could be deployed to transport tons of goods. Read more about this development at:

Read more about this development at:
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/satellite-firm-develops-long-distance-system-delivery-drones

(Photo Credit: Chip Chipman/Bloomberg News)

Woman in field with one of Flash Forest’s prototype drones

Startup Aims To Plant 1 Billion Trees By 2028 Using Drones That Transport And Plant Seed Pods

We are losing the oldest species on earth at the rate of 7 billion trees per year. Flash Forest came up with a drone technology that can transport and plant up to 20,000 seed pods per day and access sites that human planters cannot reach. The drones transport the pods and plant them faster and at a lower cost than humans with trucks and shovels. It won’t stop deforestation but it will slow climate change and narrow the gap in the race to restore the planet’s breathing mechanism.

Read more at:

https://www.fastcompany.com/90504789/these-drones-can-plant-40000-trees-in-a-month-by-2028-theyll-have-planted-1-billion

(Photo credit: Flash Forest: One of Flash Forest’s prototype drones. )

Fixed-wing drones that are launched by catapults and recovered using this arrestor system (from Zipline)

Drone Manufacturer Asks FAA To Approve Unmanned Medical Supply Flights In Response To Pandemic

Zipline is offering to setup a drone-based supply chain across the US for distribution of emergency supplies such as medicine, PPE gear, test kits and even blood to ease supply chain blockages. The drones are launched by catapult and recovered by an arrestor system. The company has been operating the drones to deliver emergency medical supplies to remote locations in Africa for several years.  Medical supplies are dropped by parachute to healthcare workers and rushed to areas suffering severe shortages.

Read more at:
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/april/13/zipline-pitches-drones-for-us-coronavirus-relief

(Photo credit: From Zipline via AOPA: Zipline created these fixed-wing drones.)

Man Wearing Face Shield, with Aircraft in Background

Piper Aircraft Applies R&D Ingenuity To Build Superior Medical Masks For Hospitals Faced With A Shortage Of PPE

The engineers at Piper Aircraft came up with a unique solution to the current shortage of masks for healthcare workers. Using a plastic stamping machine and materials normally used in the production  of aircraft interiors, they found a way to utilize in-house equipment and materials for the production of face shields for hospitals on the front line.

Read more about Piper’s engineering turnaround at:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/march/30/piper-joins-fight-for-coronavirus-relief

(Photo credit: Piper Aircraft via AOPA/Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association)

White Water Boat with cargo with "Houston Express"

Manufacturers Who Cut Inventories And Profit Margins To The Bone Are The Most Vulnerable To The Current Crisis

In order for western manufacturers to remain competitive, many components are sourced from China. When China delays manufacturing, western manufacturers’ ability to finish their products and deliver them to market is impeded. To compound that problem, inventories are typically stockpiled for just 15-30 days due to cost-saving inventory management methods such as “just in time delivery”. That spells double trouble for manufacturers and consumers alike.

Read more about how the current crisis is impacting global supply chains at:
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/supply-chains-and-coronavirus/608329/

(Photo credit: Julius Silver)