- FedEx is joining the autonomous flight trend…
- Technology to save the bees…
- This Dyson device preys on people’s fears…
The battle for Twitter, and whether or not freedom of speech will be allowed again on the platform, just got a lot more interesting.
Last week brought news that none other than Elon Musk himself acquired 9.2% of the company. The move followed a series of tweets from Musk last month concerning whether or not a new, open, and censorship-free social media platform should be built.
After the news of Musk’s stake broke, it was immediately expected that Musk would join the board of Twitter. In fact, Twitter did offer him a seat, but the offer came with a major stipulation: As a board member, Musk would not be able to own more than 14.9% of the company’s stock.
Twitter was a bargain when Musk started buying, and from my perspective, Twitter is worth a whole lot more than where it trades today. And if the platform returns back to its original ethos rather than trying to impose itself as a false arbiter of truth, the sky will be the limit.
But that’s not why Musk is buying in… He knows Twitter is broken in its current form.
And he knows that when scientists, scientific researchers, and other experts in their respective fields are censored, banned, or deplatformed because the information that they share doesn’t fit a political narrative, a breakdown of society will follow in the absence of free, open, and healthy discourse.
Twitter’s board was caught off guard… Musk came out of nowhere.
They couldn’t change that, so they tried one of the oldest tricks in the book. They tried to pigeonhole Musk and limit his influence.
It didn’t work.
Musk is too busy building what no one in the automotive industry has ever been able to do. He’s too busy democratizing access to space. He’s too busy working on enabling the human race to eventually become a multi-planetary species.
Do we think he wants to screw around fighting for control of the board vote by vote?
Heck no. He’ll just buy the company and do it right… Problem solved.
There is no need to build from scratch when the infrastructure is in place right now. He can pay cash if he wants to, but he won’t need to. There’s plenty of private equity that will support the acquisition.
FedEx is fueling the Great Recalibration…
FedEx just made a big announcement: The logistics giant is now testing autonomous cargo flights in partnership with an exciting startup called Elroy Air.
This is more evidence that the “Great Recalibration” is underway. I’ll explain with some context…
As we know, the government policies implemented in response to COVID-19 created a major cultural shift in terms of how we purchase, transact, and consume products. The following chart very clearly demonstrates this:
Here we can see that consumers spent just under $575 billion on online goods in 2019. That number jumped up 41% to nearly $813 billion in 2020… due to the direct impact of quarantine and work-from-home policies.
And this trend continues to persist. Online spending increased another 8.9% last year, topping out at $885 billion. And we expect that figure to hit $1 trillion this year. That would be another 13% increase.
Meanwhile, the very same pandemic policies created a dynamic where people continue to quit their jobs in the millions every month at record levels. This has placed a tremendous strain on logistics and distribution workflows. Demand skyrocketed as available workers plummeted.
As a result, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS struggled to deliver their products on time throughout the pandemic. They just didn’t have enough employees to keep up with online orders.
These problems continue to persist today.
In order to address the continued demand for home delivery, more than 30,000 new distribution facilities will be built over the next two or three years. The entire logistics and distribution infrastructure is being re-architected right now.
And that brings us back to FedEx and its announcement.
Elroy Air designed an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft optimized for cargo deliveries. Here it is:
Elroy Air’s eVTOL
Source: Elroy Air
The aircraft above has 12 electric motors and 12 propellers. It’s fully autonomous, and can fly up to 300 miles at a time before needing to be recharged.
And see that cargo pod attached to the bottom of the craft? It can carry up to 500 pounds at a time. That makes this aircraft ideal for handling deliveries on behalf of FedEx.
Now let’s think about the 30,000 new distribution facilities that are coming. Companies will build these closer to the markets they serve.
It would be easy to add landing pads on the roof for Elroy Air’s aircraft. Employees or even robots could load up the cargo pod and attach it, and then the eVTOLs can fly from large distribution facilities out to smaller distribution centers closer to the desired delivery area.
Using technology like that provided by Elroy Air enables package and product delivery to travel unhindered by the normal traffic patterns experienced on surface roads. This will enable logistics companies like FedEx, UPS, and Amazon to distribute and deliver packages efficiently and in less time.
And here’s the best part – it’s happening right now. FedEx and Elroy Air are testing out eVTOL deliveries this year. If all goes well, the two will launch air delivery services next year.
This is a fantastic solution that feeds into the Great Recalibration that’s taking place right now. I expect to see both Amazon and UPS announce similar eVTOL delivery plans this year as well.
And, of course, this makes Elroy Air a very exciting company to watch. Let’s add this one to our early stage watchlist.
AI and robotics will save one of the most important species on Earth…
Israeli agricultural tech (AgTech) company Beewise just raised $80 million in its Series C funding round.
This is one of the largest AgTech raises I’ve ever seen. And there’s a great reason Beewise is generating so much interest…
Beewise is using artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technology to solve a major problem that most of us aren’t aware of: the global decline in the bee population.
Between April 2020 and April 2021, roughly 45% of the entire bee population collapsed. Nearly half of all bees in the world died. Experts attribute this to a combination of climate change, habitat loss, excessive pesticide use, parasites, and pathogens.
Of course, we don’t want to see this happen to any species. But bees are especially important to global food production.
That’s because roughly 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of agricultural land depend on animal pollination. What’s more, nearly 90% of all flowering plants around the globe also depend on pollination.
Without sufficient bees, agriculture will struggle mightily. And that’s bad news for our food supply chains.
That’s where Beewise comes in.
Beewise is applying robotics automation to beehives. The company deploys beehive “pods” in fields with crops that require pollination. Then it monitors honey production levels for bacteria and parasites.
If it detects any threats, the pod can autonomously dispense medication or treatment for pests. It’s all about protecting the bees.
Here’s a look at Beewise’s technology in action:
As we can see, each Beewise home houses an incredible number of bees. In fact, each home supports up to 24 colonies – 12 a side – or two million bees.
And its technology is fully automated to give these bee colonies the best chance of thriving. Beewise estimates that this tech saved over 160 million bees in the last year.
Beewise’s Beehome even harvests the honey once it hits the 100-gallon mark. That’s a bonus… and is the first major improvement to the honey-harvesting process in 150 years.
As we have discussed numerous times in these pages, advancements in AI and robotics are helping to automate nearly every industry in the world.
Beewise is a great example. That’s because, even though it might not be obvious, it’s easy to understand the value that this technology brings to a global problem.
Don’t buy this fear-based product…
We are going to wrap up today with one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in a while.
I normally focus on more positive developments, but I just can’t resist with this one. It’s a new product that feeds into the mass psychosis that has developed over the past two years.
Here it is:
What we are looking at is the Dyson Zone. It’s a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones with a built-in air purifier.
The Zone uses Dyson’s existing air filtration technology, pulling in air through each headphone, filtering it, and then piping the air to the visor covering the nose and mouth. According to Dyson, this system strips out 99% of particle pollution.
Many readers may be familiar with Dyson, the same company that produces fantastic vacuums and air purifiers. There’s no doubt the tech is good.
But look at this thing… Do we really want to wear this around in public? Would we feel comfortable having a conversation with somebody wearing this?
And what’s even the point?
Most of us in the developed world don’t spend time in places where the air quality is seriously compromised. There’s simply no need for a filtration system like this.
To me, Dyson is latching on to the fear and panic created during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be clear, the company does not claim that this device can protect against COVID-19. It can’t. Nor can it protect against any other airborne virus.
But this design capitalizes on the prevalence of fear-driven mask-wearing that still exists in many places.
Dyson is preying upon mass hysteria here – that’s the part that I really don’t like.
But with all that said, I do see some utility here. This device could potentially have a use case in industrial settings where somebody must operate in an environment where the air is, in fact, polluted. That would make sense to me.
And the combination of the noise-canceling headphones in a noisy industrial setting might also make sense. If Dyson added in wireless connectivity and a microphone so that a worker could communicate with a command center or maintenance team, they might just have a useful product for the right setting.
This is not something I say very often, but I really hope this product – in its consumer form – fails miserably. Something like this, which would unnecessarily amplify the fear and panic that we have experienced as a result of failed government policies, would not be good for society.
We cannot succumb to the mindset that there is something out to get us around every corner. Ideally, we can all return to a healthy state of common sense and keep relative risk in perspective in our daily lives.
What’s more, our immune systems need to be stimulated to say healthy and strong. Constantly trying to insulate our immune system from natural exposure to our environment will weaken it. And that will make us much more susceptible to severe illness.
It’s time to get back to normal.
Editor, The Bleeding Edge
P.S. For a short time longer, the replay of my State of the Tech Markets strategy session will be online for those who would like to catch up.
I’d highly encourage anyone who wasn’t there last Wednesday not to miss this replay. If you’re uncertain about the markets or today’s investing climate… then this strategy session was meant for you.
Simply go right here to watch.
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