A beautiful concept. But these craft will need clearly defined flightpaths that do not coincide with regular aeroplanes. Imagine driving on an expressway and then trying to evade a bullock cart. The low speeds could pose serious safety concerns.
Andrew McIntosh
This sounds fantastic. I would imagine that one of its greatest uses could be for commercial cargo transport in and around cities. Carrying goods directly from ports to their destinations and replacing many of the trucks that currently have to navigate busy roadways.
Ross Nicholson
When we make these much larger, wind will rotate about the shadow cast upon the ground, making these useful for moving fresh water to the interior.
Operate enough of these high enough, and global warming will go poof, too.
J. James
Nantha, you'd be surprised how quick the Aeroscraft actually is. What would you guess it's speed is, if it is such a concern? 20 mph? 30? Well, actually, the top speed is 140 mph, which combined with the typical altitude it flies at, puts it roughly on par with a small single-engine airplane like a Cessna, or a large cargo helicopter.
Regular airplanes fly miles above.
I can why the Hindenburg is brought up every time a dirigible article is written, but looking at how tens of thousands of people have since died in regular aircraft, the 35 people who perished on the Hindenburg is really paltry.
@ J. James, yes you have a point that 140 mph seems pretty decent. Although compared to a regular airliner it would be about a quarter of that speed. And, as cargo vehicles there would be quite a number of them which means that there should be many of them in the air. At their lower speeds, each of these craft will be in the air for a long time, before getting to their destinations. This translates to many craft in the air at any one time. And they will be akin to lumbering giants, with huge payloads that will not be able to change direction quickly. The term airship quite accurately describes the way these these things move, with lots of momentum and inertia.
I have always been a fan of airships but with today's world requiring huge amounts of goods transported, the new concern will be IN-TRANSIT air congestion. These craft would probably be best used over sea or vast areas of emptiness, in a role between a ship and a plane.
It would be lovely to cruise in one of these over the Antarctic or Himalayas, if they can brave the weather.
Donny Bos
This is nothing new, 7 years ago a prototype was released in the UK named SKYCAT. Great concept for passengers and cargo but the project still did not take off...the cost savings and economies of scale are there. No airports required, point to point delivery. One can only wonder why this is still in prototype phase.
Dan Vasii
For transportation, there is a clear advantage for airships - 40% of fuel is spent by planes for taking off & landing. For short distances also, there is no need for long strips, etc. ...
Tim Collins
The Hindenburg disaster occurred not because "technology moved on" BUT because the US refused to supply the Germans with helium, forcing them to use highly volatile hydrogen..
Looks a bit like Thunderbird 2! 8)