A Texas-based startup is bringing old technology to new roles to make transportation cheaper and better for the planet, Bloomberg reports. Aerolane aims to increase transport capacity while reducing fuel consumption by towing gliders behind cargo planes.

In today's convenience economy, the products we consume are often transported overseas and across continents before reaching stores, making transportation costs and the associated carbon pollution a key element in the climate equation.

According to Transport and Environment, international shipping and air travel together account for 6% of all global carbon pollution, with some predictions that shipping alone could account for 10% of emissions by 2050.

Aerolane claims that towing gliders behind cargo planes can reduce fuel consumption by up to 65%, making air transport cheaper for consumers and better for the planet. Essentially, this technology allows us to move more cargo.

Of course, glider technology is not new. This article from the National Air and Space Museum reminds us that gliders were manufactured before airplanes were invented.

Moving cargo with them is also not surprising. According to the Imperial War Museum, the Horsa glider was used during the famous Normandy landings during World War II.

Gur Kimchi, one of Aerolane's co-founders, believes the technology's ease of use and history of application make it a winner. “It’s really, really simple,” he says. And that's good.

The importance of this technology stems from its application and potential impact on consumers and the planet. This is an example of an existing technology with a high ceiling that has a positive impact on the environment and consumers' pockets.

Aerolane writes on its website that the AeroCart Glider's cargo capacity is “double or triple” that of a standard airplane. It also allows for multiple landing destinations for cargo. Gliders can be flown on the ground separate from where they are being towed.

“The physics are in our favor,” Todd Graetz, Aerolane's other co-founder, told Bloomberg. “Look at the birds.…We can learn a lot from them.”

The technology is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and aims to enter the competitive cargo transportation market. However, this technology is expected to be available in 2025 and could have a major impact on consumers and the environment.

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