FedEx and UPS Will Soon Be Flying Pilotless Planes. How Safe Are They?

The autonomous cargo aircraft cut carbon emissions by half.

learn more about Jonathan Small

By Jonathan Small

Pilotless planes will soon be carrying your packages to remote locations.

Natilus, which designs autonomous aircraft, just inked a $134 million deal with Ameriflight, a freight airline company that provides planes for FedEx, UPS, and DHL. The company will deliver 20 Natilus Kona feeder planes as part of its plan to create the "air cargo network of the future."

The Natilus planes have a carbon fiber, blended-wing-body that, according to the company, "offers a 60% reduction in the cost of operations and cuts carbon emissions by half," said Aleksey Matyushev, Co-Founder and CEO of Natilus.

The plane's small size also allows them to access more remote areas where larger aircraft don't have the runway capacity to land.

"Autonomous technologies seek to utilize labor more efficiently by allowing a single pilot to control multiple aircraft, helping address the dire pilot shortage," explained Matyushev.

Aside from being better for the planet, autonomous planes also offer a solution to the pilot shortage that has plagued airlines this past year, stressing the air traffic system and leaving passengers grounded and enraged.

Related: Your FedEx Packages Might Soon Be Moved Via Automatic Cargo Planes

How safe are pilotless planes?

The idea of autonomous planes traversing the airways can seem dangerous. Still, several organizations, including government agencies, academic institutions, and aerospace companies, have been actively researching and developing autonomous flight technology to ensure its safety.

Some studies have shown that autonomous flights reduce human error and improve situational awareness. Other studies have investigated the potential risks associated with autonomous flight, such as software failures and cybersecurity threats.

The technology is still in its nascency, but the latest announcement by Natilus and Ameriflight proves that pilotless planes are here to stay.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Staff

Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur

Jonathan Small is editor-in-chief of Green Entrepreneur, a vertical from Entrepreneur Media focused on the intersection of sustainability and business. He is also an award-winning journalist, producer, and podcast host of the upcoming True Crime series, Dirty Money, and Write About Now podcasts. Jonathan is the founder of Strike Fire Productions, a premium podcast production company. He had held editing positions at Glamour, Stuff, Fitness, and Twist Magazines. His stories have appeared in The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, and Good Housekeeping. Previously, Jonathan served as VP of Content for the GSN (the Game Show Network), where he produced original digital video series.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Business News

A Mississippi News Anchor Is Under Fire for Quoting Snoop Dogg

WLBT's Barbara Bassett used the rapper's "fo shizzle" phrase during a live broadcast, causing the station to let her go.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.