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Andreas Raptopoulos wants drones to deliver our stuff. As the founder of Matternet, he hopes to build networks for “micro-transportation” that will allow unmanned aerial vehicles to ferry all sorts of goods across long distances, especially in places where the roads either suck or are crammed full of commuters.

Raptopoulos imagines networks of tiny drones that can deliver medical supplies to far-flung areas in the developing world, and he sees delivery drones soaring over the traffic-jammed streets of Sao Paulo. The little drones will be able cover more ground thanks to waypoint stations that will automatically swap out and recharge their exhausted batteries; eventually, these airborne delivery sentries would fly back and forth autonomously, bouncing across whole regions, no pilot required. I caught up with Raptopoulos at this year’s PopTech conference, and he told me all about how drones and micro-transportation could eventually change the way our stuff moves.

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