PX4’s project lead, Lorenz Meier, has assisted the Redline project of Jonathan Ledgard and Lord Norman Foster since 2014 with a feasibility study on the size and types of cargo drones best suited for the use in Foster’s droneport concept. The Redline project paved the way for Bay Area based startup Zipline for its launch location Rwanda as acknowledged by Rwanda’s government in a joint press release with Zipline.
Lorenz Meier is also focused on cargo drones in his PhD: His current research is funded by an undirected gift from Amazon Prime Air and focused on detecting aerial obstacles such as powerlines using computer vision.
PX4 has pioneered VTOL airframes for cargo applications since 2014 including the popular Tailsitter, Tiltrotor and Quad Plane configurations. Zurich based startup Wingtra is already leveraging the PX4 technology to deliver their unique tailsitter cargo drone.
Norman Foster and Lorenz Meier discussing cargo drones at the Computer Vision and Geometry Lab of ETH Zurich:
PX4 allows to operate drones completely autonomously without the requirement for a pilot, as in this video: