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Thursday, January 11, 2018

cargo carriage by drones ~ addition to modes of transportation !

Marine Insurance is all about cargo and its movement from one place to another.  Underwriting is the art of evaluating the potential of the risk, deciding on offering indemnity and then deciding on the rates, terms and conditions of insurance.   A good underwriter with keen eye to details would look in to the risk studying its physical hazards and other possible situations that might render a loss or damage to the subject matter about to be insured.  The physical features of the subject matter including its fragility, susceptibility to external factors, shelf life, whether perishable, its packing, its size, they way they would be handled and whether they will withstand such handling,  its commercial value and utility value, its marketability all can impact the decision of the Insurer.

In insuring cargo in transit from place to place and specific emphasis is on the way the goods are carried, handled, moved, the mode, packing, stowage and other aspects.  Containers by their standardisation eased space and brought in a revolution. ~ and there is one important aspect of carriage – who is the carrier or what is the mode of transit ?  in general – it would by trucks (lorries); railway; sea (ship / country crafts) and by air [cargo carriers].  There is ‘Courier’ too ~ but that is more of a carrier than a mode, as a Courier could again transport goods by rail / road / sea / air. Can you ponder over  adding something more to the ‘mode’ !! ~ the clue is cargo hanging !!

A huge autonomous drone that can carry the weight of two baby elephants has been unveiled by Boeing states an interesting article in MailOnline.  The heavy-duty quadrocopter can transport payloads up to quarter-of-a-ton, and Boeing says it may use the drone to shift heavy cargo in future.  After designing and building the craft in just three months, Boeing says it has already put the vehicle through flight tests at one of its research centres.

A huge autonomous drone that can carry the weight of two baby elephants has been unveiled by Boeing. The heavy-duty quadrocopter (pictured) can transport payloads up to quarter-of-a-ton, and Boeing says it may use the craft to shift cargo in future. 

BOEING'S CAV PROTOTYPE :  Powered by an electric propulsion system, Boeing's CAV prototype has eight helicopter-like rotors, allowing for vertical take-off and landing. The craft weighs 339 kg (747 lbs), but is capable of carrying a further 226 kg (500 lbs) of cargo. It measures 4.6m long (15 ft), 5.5m wide (18 ft) and 1.2m (4 ft) tall. Boeing may use the heavy-duty quadrocopter to shift heavy cargo in future.

The aerospace firm, based in Chicago, Illinois, calls the vehicle an electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) cargo air vehicle (CAV) prototype. It dwarfs the average drone, measuring 4.6 meters long (15 ft), 5.5 metres wide (18 ft) and 1.2 metres (4 ft) tall.

The cargo can be attached to the drone with cables.  Boeing says the drone is a precursor to its future autonomous flying craft. 'This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy,' said Boeing chief technology officer Greg Hyslop in a statement. 'We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we'll look back on this day as a major step in that journey.'

Powered by an electric propulsion system, Boeing's CAV prototype has eight helicopter-like rotors, allowing for vertical flight. The craft weighs 339 kg (747 lbs), but is capable of carrying a further 226kg (500 lbs) of cargo. The quadrocopter has completed initial tests at a Boeing autonomous research laboratory in St Charles, Missouri, but the firm did not provide details of the flights.  Today's commercial airplanes already use sophisticated computer systems that have automated key aspects of flying. But Aurora aims to go far beyond that, aspiring to a completely autonomous flight, from take-off to landing. In April last year, Aurora was selected by Uber to develop its on-demand urban air transportation system.

Interesting and innovative ~ how much % it is going to have market share of cargo movement would remain to be seen.  In between, as an Insurer, do you foresee any new challenges in this new form of transit; what could be the recovery and whether there could be new perils added ‘cargo dropped and damaged’ and whether there could be liability scenario from such mishandled heavy cargo ???

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Jan 2018.



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