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This Bulgarian start-up is reimagining how we move goods by air with its cargo drones

Image shows 'Black swan', the first full-sized cargo drone prototype from Bulgarian company, Dronamics.
Image shows 'Black swan', the first full-sized cargo drone prototype from Bulgarian company, Dronamics. Copyright Dronamics
Copyright Dronamics
By Euronews and AP
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Bulgarian firm Dronamics has just completed test flights of their full-size cargo drone prototype with hopes to launch commercial operations later this year.

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Brothers Konstantin and Svilen Rangelov set up their Bulgarian start-up Dronamics with one big ambition in mind: to revolutionise the transportation industry by reimagining how goods are transported across the world.

The pair have recently achieved an important milestone in bringing their ambition to fruition with the successful test flight of “Black Swan,” the company’s first full-size cargo drone prototype.

During the test flight, which took place at Balchik airport in Bulgaria, the aircraft was operated remotely by two experienced commercial airline pilots based at Dronamics’ ground control station.

“We just had our first successful flight, but we need to continue that test program, and at the end of the year, we would be ready to launch our first commercial flights … first in Greece, across the islands and then we will move throughout the Mediterranean to Italy, Malta and beyond," said Rangelov.

At present, the drone is capable of carrying 350 kg over distances of up to 2,500 km and the company website states that the engine is being designed for biofuel.

In the future, they are aiming to power the aircraft with hydrogen or synthetic fuel solutions to ensure carbon neutral flights.

The rapidly expanding company has the distinction of being Europe's first licensed cargo drone airline and the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) first Strategic Partner for drones on a global scale.

And while the firm aims to launch commercial flights by the end of 2023, experts warn that they still have a number of important hurdles to overcome.

"They still have a long journey ahead, including certification, aircraft maintenance, fleet building, production, and more,” Stefan Hristozov, an aeronautical engineer at the Institute of Robotics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, said.

So far, Dronamics has raised $40 million (€37 million) from investors across 12 countries.

In addition, the European Union has provided funding via the European Innovation Council.

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

Video editor • Aisling Ní Chúláin

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