Matternet's Vision Is A Roadless World
Matternet is a plan to use aviation technology to keep people alive and help them thrive when economic or geographic challenges keep them isolated from streams of commerce and aid, and traditional aviation isn't the answer. Matternet's long-term vision of creating an autonomous transportation network for point-to-point delivery of people and cargo must wait on technology that is not yet proven, but its short-term goals are more in line with technology's present abilities. For that, Matternet hopes to meet the need for quick delivery of medical test results and their associated medications to geographically isolated people. The plan would use small, autonomous, electrically powered quadcopters carrying two-kilogram packages 10 kilometers at a time. If all goes well, that will be just the beginning.
The group expects to build its initial pilot test group with quadcopters and test them in varying weather conditions. Matternet is fully aware that they may need to shift to or integrate fixed-wing vehicles for longer range, heavier payload and more reliable service in inclement weather. Matternet believes they can produce the aerial vehicles for use in round-trip medical missions for less than $2500. If it works, they would then hope to deploy solar-powered ground stations that quadcopters or other unmanned aerial vehicles could use to hopscotch across larger distances. In that vision, the ground stations would be fully autonomous and could swap out the aerial vehicles' used batteries with charged batteries and change payloads as needed. Matternet hopes to deliver the system to areas of need with the help of non-governmental philanthropic organizations, or with the assistance of local governments or communities. The ultimate vision of Matternet is to create an autonomous transportation network capable of delivering goods or people across greater distances, virtually eliminating the need for roads.