Presenting ATLANT project, we were frequently asked about the very reason to develop quite another means of cargo transportation. In a world where airplanes and ships are well covering every important spot on the globe, is there a place for cargo airships as well? The truth is that ATLANT cargo airship is not going to replace any of the existing means of transportation, but to fulfil complicated missions, which does not have practical solution today.
VTOL – Cargo airship main advantage
Cargo airship is capable to launch and land vertically, and that means it does not need any ground infrastructure. The small clear spot of any flat surface just slightly bigger than aircraft itself would be sufficient. No runaways or large airfields needed anymore! And that is a real revolution in the world of transportation, because it can launch from everywhere and land anywhere, including remote destinations.
It is an especially important fact, because a close look at transportation facilities (airports, water ports, rail roads and car roads) will reveal that they are connecting in the leading industrial areas of the world, leaving all the rest of the human population outside of the supply chain. The practical translation of this picture is that even food and medicine are not easily accessed by the people who live in remote places. Cargo airships are capable to solve this logistics problem, which causes a huge inequality between people who live in the developed and underdeveloped parts of the world.
Fast Cargo delivery
Many eyebrows were raised at the claim that cargo airship can reduce the delivery time of goods to their destination. Even though, an airship moves at a speed of 120 Km/H, it can deliver the cargo faster than other means of transportation due to simpler logistic. Today, a cargo goes from the factory to the airport by track, there unloaded to warehouse, then uploaded to a plain, then goes to another warehouse in the country of destination and finally delivered by track to the customer. We are talking here about 4 stations and 3 means of transportation. In the case of cargo airship, it can be uploaded on the site of cars manufacturer for example and to be unloaded on the distributor’s parking lot. Here we have only 2 stations, which saves a lot of time and effort. The time that is lost on slow speed of the vehicle is compensated by the simple logistics and point to point delivery.
Humanitarian aid delivery by cargo airship
Another challenge of the ATLANT airship is humanitarian aid delivery. The global climate changes are causing more and more dreadful natural disasters. When those are happening, the ground infrastructures are damaged heavily, not allowing the airplanes with humanitarian supply to land. The vivid example to that is Haiti earthquake of 2010, when many airplanes with humanitarian aid from all over the world just fly around the disaster area without being able to land due to huge damage that the local airport suffered from. ATLANT cargo airship could be extremely helpful in this situation.
In case of humanitarian aid supply, the speed limitation of the cargo airship is extremally crucial. The solution to that obstacle is combined effort between airships and conventional airplanes. When the cargo airships will be used worldwide, there will always be an airship in a reasonable distance from the damaged place. This airship will be loaded in the closest airport and will take the supplies to its destination.
Especially big and heavy cargo does not have a practical transporting solution nowadays. A good example to that is wind turbine blades (35-80 meters long, 15-26 tones in weight) which must be delivered as one peace. Since the ATLANT is designed as cargo airship, it has an especially large internal bay which allows to upload cargo much larger than the largest airplane. Furthermore, there is a possibility to carry cargo safely on the outer side, which is perfectly suitable to transport turbine blades. All of that gives practical solution to move a complicated cargo safely and efficiently.
Once cargo airship will launch, it won’t take the place of any existing means of transportation but will fill the missing holes in cargo distribution around the globe. It will supply goods to remote places, where ground infrastructures underdeveloped, it will carry oversized and overweight cargo and will deliver humanitarian aid to disaster areas. All those reasons make the cargo airship an important tool in the future economic and humanitarian activities in the world.