Automation Unwrapped: Revolutionising cargo transport with Svilen Rangelov of Dronamics | Fieldfisher
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Automation Unwrapped: Revolutionising cargo transport with Svilen Rangelov of Dronamics

Tom Ward


United Kingdom

In Episode 4 of our Automation Unwrapped series, Manchester-based Partner, Tom Ward, spoke to the Co-Founder and CEO of Dronamics, Svilen Rangelov. Svilen describes his journey to develop the world's first cargo airline, gives his advice to budding entrepreneurs and explains why his beard has hit the headlines.


Not all drones are small buzzing helicopters

What do you think of when you hear the word 'drone'? Most of us picture a small helicopter-like contraption whizzing above our heads. But think again! Times have moved on.

Svilen Rangelov, CEO of Dronamics, explains that he and his brother Konstantin founded Dronamics ten years ago when drones mainly consisted of big military fixed wing aircraft or the small delivery drones then recently announced by Amazon. There wasn't much in-between. 

A smaller, more agile way to transport cargo

Currently, cargo that is shipped on large planes is offloaded onto big trucks – but big trucks don't come to your house and ring the doorbell. Another step in the delivery chain is needed where the cargo is split up and delivered by courier vans.

How Bulgarian cheese triggered an entrepreneurial spark

When Svilen's brother was studying aerospace engineering in the Netherlands, he craved his favourite Bulgarian cheese. Shipping it by air was too expensive and by road, too slow. The cheese story gave the brothers the entrepreneurial spark and they began work on the design of an unmanned civilian airplane designed specifically to transport cargo. The cockpit of the aircraft would be on the ground, giving the pilot the ability to control the aircraft remotely and to free up maximum space for cargo. Their drone, Black Swan, was becoming a reality.

Same-day delivery solution

The capacity of size of the aircraft – 3.5 cubic meters – is designed to match that of a standard courier van.

The aircraft can fly long distances up to 2,500km which is most of Europe or the mid-way point of the continental US. This means it is a great solution to unlock same-day delivery.

Building the infrastructure to support the drones

Svilen explains that Dronamics is about much more than the drone alone. The firm is also building the droneports needed to operate the airline and the plan is to build a droneport in every major town.

What are the environmental benefits of Dronamics?

The aircraft are small and are therefore able to land on a much shorter runway than is used by traditional aircraft – a mere 400m is required.

The aircraft have been designed differently to standard aircraft as there is no need to consider a human crew. They are designed for efficiency and save up to 60% on co2 emissions compared to standard aircraft. Working with sustainable fuel partners, Svilen and his team expect to reach zero emissions at some point in the future.

Advice for entrepreneurs

Svilen's advice for budding entrepreneurs is to start with a long-term mindset. Aviation is a particularly long game given the capital required and regulations that require compliance.

Of course, entrepreneurs need funding and Dronamics itself has had the backing of the European Innovation Council. The future of funding, Svilen says, is looking bright.

What plans does Svilen have for the rest of the year?

Having recently been selected to join a select group of companies running the new EU Future Mobility Taskforce, Svilen and his team will be working with their peers to address challenges faced by innovators in the sector.

Dronamics will be launching its first droneport in Greece this year and it plans to expand into the EU from there.

The team will also be running a demo flight in the UK and reaching out to markets in the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

The brothers' beards making headlines

Whilst Svilen sported a beard during the recording, he hadn't been a fan of facial hair in the past. He and his brother really did not like beards but the made a pact to never shave until their first aircraft took to the skies. When that time came, in May 2023, the pair had grown magnificent beards, the removal of which transformed them. Clearly for Svilen, at least, his beard phobia has been put to bed!

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