What are other benefits of CargoFish that were not mentioned yet?
Enable 2-way container travel. So much garbage goes to landfills because the packaging doesn't come back to the maker. Many items are also expensive in great part because of their packages. Some items come in less than desirable packages because they must be disposable (does everything need to be plastic?). With CargoFish, we could go back to, let’s say, reusable glass milk bottles. Yet instead of a milkman, bottles could simply be returned through CargoFish to be washed and reused.
Convenience: Lead time for most orders will be minutes (at most)
Independence for disabled and homebound - they can do all their grocery shopping from the comfort of their homes.
It will be a permanent improvement to real estate anywhere it is installed, just as any other utility service is.
Won’t it be very expensive to install?
Just the opposite! Have you ever heard anyone complain about the expense of installing plumbing and wiring in a building? Of course not - because they know from experience that the upfront expense will result in many times more value over the lifetime of the asset. It’s the same with CargoFish.
How will it be installed without causing serious inconvenience to locals, especially in large cities?
Many urban water main replacement projects are going on currently. Many are being done entirely “cut and cover” with street openings. Total downtime of service? Just a few hours.
CargoFish will be even easier to install than water mains. Since it does not involve water, it requires a much shallower cut as it does not need freeze protection. In addition, it is not replacing any previous system, so there will be no downtime casualties.
Is there any historical precedence for a project of this scale?
Plenty. First of all, every utility system involved installation on the same scale that CargoFish will involve. But here are two other significant examples:
The Canal Boom
Canals had their heyday in America during the early part of the nineteenth century. Take the Erie Canal. It was really, really expensive to build - but it was making a profit even before it was entirely completed because each section went into service as it was finished.
The First Transcontinental Railroad
Constructed between 1863 and 1869, this was the first continuous rail to connect the East Coast and West Coast of the US. It was built by 3 private companies on public land provided by US land grants.
Railroad companies were paid by the government, which financed it with the sale of bonds:
...$16,000 per mile (the equivalent of $446,000 today) for tracks on level grade
...$32,000 per mile (or $892,000 today) for tracks on foothills
...$48,000 per mile (or $1,338,000 today) for tracks on mountains.
Transport of both passengers and goods from coast-to-coast became considerably quicker, safer and cheaper. On June 4, 1876, an express train called the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco via the First Transcontinental Railroad only 83 hours and 39 minutes after it had left New York City. Only ten years before, the same journey would have taken months over land or weeks on a ship, possibly all the way around South America.
In short - it revolutionized the settlement and economy of the American West
How long will it take for CargoFish to see a profit?
Each segment should begin generating profits about a year after installation is complete.
As additional parts are built and interconnected, the utility of the entirety will forever exceed the sum of the value of the individual parts. It is the “network effect”.
You have been working on CargoFish for many years. Why hasn’t it taken off yet?
In order to sell, we need to demonstrate. In order to demonstrate, we have to build a complete model. In order to build, we need funds.
I work full time and am a father of 3, leaving me with little time for fundraising.
Because CargoFish so different and revolutionary, a complete prototype that thoroughly demonstrates the system is the only way to convince people that this could become a reality. That is why it is crucial that we begin raising significant funds immediately.
What kind of prototypes have been developed so far?
Over the last nine years, I have developed a series of increasingly functional prototypes that I have tested and improved upon. This sixth generation will be the first “demonstration” grade version. It is progressing as fast as can be supported by my free time outside of full-time work and family responsibilities. Other project activities, such as giving interviews and attempting to raise funds, also take time and effort. I am currently engaged in participation in the New Jersey Energy Master Plan development process, through which my ultimate goal is to secure funding for a pilot somewhere in the state.
How much would CargoFish impact traffic congestion?
Major US urban roadways experience about 4.5 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per lane mile per year, and all are at least four lanes.
So if only 10% of any particular major shopping corridor traffic were made obsolete by CargoFish, then there 600 thousand trips per year would be averted - thanks to a pair of 8-inch pipe/tracks installed shallow, just below grade.
Additionally, delivery from delivering to the store by utility instead of trucks will eliminate the tremendous hassle and danger of double-parked trucks that is so common in cities.
How do you envision beginning the CargoFish revolution? What is the most practical point of entry?
The immediate corporate customer can be resort hotel operators and senior living facilities, perhaps even amusement parks. These entities can have the utility system installed on their property, perhaps connected to the most adjacent supermarket.
This service will WOW patrons by exponentially increasing service and convenience.
Vending machines with limited choices and expensive room service will be eliminated. Instead, patrons/residents will simply be able to order a wide variety of consumer goods on demand.
Where can I find more information about CargoFish?
...A Google Group called "Transportation-Innovators" in which I have posted
...The "MIT Climate Colab" transportation category. I entered CargoFish over several years (2013, 2014, and 2018, I think). The 2014 entry garnered over 100 comments.
...Interview on "It's Electric" with Afeez Kay
...Interview on "Passage to Profit
...Written interview by Joseph Kennedy - https://cpath.co.uk/interview-robert-dedomenico-ceo-cargofish/
Who is the brain behind CargoFish?
Robert DeDomenico is a 53 year old father of 3 and a licensed control room operator at a commercial nuclear power plant for the past 25 years. He has a degree in computer science and previously spent six years in the US Navy, serving as a Submarine Reactor Operator and Electronics Technician.
He first conceptualized the concept of CargoFish while reading "The Long Tail", by Chris Anderson, as part of his graduate work in information systems at Drexel University.
His lifelong love of and experience in model railroading, bicycling, slot cars, sailing, windsurfing, hang gliding, skiing, nuclear submarine propulsion, nuclear power, and computer science are the main resources of expertise.
For the last nine and a half years, He has devoted one thousand hours a year to the research and development of CargoFish. This includes numerous trips and presentations, several published papers, and countless competition entries. I am a self-taught machinist, and fabricate many of the parts for project prototypes myself, in addition to sourcing subcomponents from over fifty different online suppliers.
Over all of this time span, he has been following anything and everything related to transportation by any mode and for any reason, whilst researching any and all history discoverable by any means available, especially as it pertains to design and implementation of CargoFish.
Are there any “competitors”? If so, what advantage does CargoFish have over them?
Traditional delivery services can technically be considered competitors - think USPS, UPS, Fedex, local couriers.
Newer competitors include:
...Crowdsourced delivery apps (DoorDash, FlipKart, UberEats, GrubHub, Deliveroo, GoPuff, etc.)
...Sidewalk delivery bots: (Starship, Amazon Scout, Marble, etc.)
...Delivery drones (but these, so far, exist only in principle, and the imagination of potential customers and investors. There has not yet been a profitable use of drones for delivery on a regular basis.)
...Pneumatic tube systems: (SwissLog, Pevco, Kelly Tube, Lamson Tube, etc.) These are only used in core and proven markets, such as hospitals, yet they amount to far more business than all the “high-tech” systems touted in the media.
...Bicyle delivery (it's a trend well subsidized by the environmentally conscious few in postitions to influence public policy)
In addition, there are some other systems out there that appear similar to CargoFish, but have differences that create serious issues.
Some names: "Magway", "FoodTubes", "CargoCap", "FreightShuttle", "Cargo Sous Terrain", and "PipeNet".
Each of them mistakenly insists on far larger scale of single payload capacity, when that is not the most pressing problem. It is the extremely low single payload and immediate dispatch to final consumers that extracts the highest costs and environmental damage.
What will be the average cost of installing the CargoFish system in a community?
The cost per mile for CargoFish will, of course, be specific to any given installation, depending on the terrain and distance between locations. Rural parts of the Atlantic coastal plain, such as where I live, will cost only $30k to $40k per mile without any customer connections.
Each customer connection will cost about $6k as a single, and a few percent less if a gang of customer connections can be grouped together. (This is connecting during main installation. A retro connection, after the main installation has already been completed, will cost about $8k.)
Who would pay for CargoFish? Would homeowners pay for the installation? Would the costs be recovered from a monthly fee?
The installation will be financed up front by either commercial corporations or government entities, in a manner similar to other utilities like water, sewers, electric, gas, and the various communications networks. In order to gain a foothold, it may be necessary to entice the earliest customers.
Further along, perhaps a one or two-year contractual obligation for a fixed monthly expense will be the initial arrangement with new customers. This will help with cost recovery. Retail goods providers will want to deliver via this network and will be willing to pay, either as a percentage of sales, per payload mile, or some other mutually agreeable arrangement.
Tell me about data and finances.
...Around $5 trillion of the US economy is comprised of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) capable of being handled by CargoFish. The entire potential global distribution market is somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 trillion.
...Even if only a quarter of this market can be realized, it is still pretty big. Let’s face it. More things are small than big, and most big payloads are collections of small things. Discrete payloads cost the most to distribute, and the last leg of the journey has always cost the most. CargoFish finally gives us a way to change that.
Why not drones and sidewalk bots?
Drones use much more energy, are exposed, more prone to thefts, need verification for pickup, and require recipients to go outside to retrieve the package, and actually cost much more. They are just so much more complex in countless ways.
Some drone stats:
...Specific cost - Around $50 per ton-mile
...Specific energy intensity - Upwards of 100,000 BTU per ton-mile and more.
Sidewalk bot operator stats:
...Specific cost - $200 per ton-mile
...Specific energy intensity - north of 50,000 BTU per ton-mile.
Specific cost - $2 per ton-mile
Specific energy around 1000 BTU per ton-mile.
At CargoFish, we optimize because we understand how to really make things work in the most convenient way. Others in niche markets don't because they are blinded by a sort of bias for "bells and whistles".
All of the trendy tech solutions are so far only losing money even though they are well capitalized and have numerous pilots. None of the traditional solutions offer low enough price point to ever handle grocery, and never will.
Especially in the fall and holiday season, which always show a spike in both e-commerce and IRL shopping trips, I don't think anyone wants to see drones and other unregulated delivery systems trying to fill this growing demand.
CargoFish is really the only viable answer.
Some research shows that pretty much every transport and energy authority has rejected your plans. Why is this?
Today US “green” technology subsidy is legislatively steered into the wind, solar, batteries, and mass transit. The public mind believes in these because they are already introduced. CargoFish needs only a proper and thorough introduction, and nothing short of a pilot project in actual use will suffice as such. Once it is demonstrated, it will be embraced.
And of course, CargoFish presents a major threat to so many industries that no doubt lobby against us.
I’ll quote Machiavelli, “It ought to be remembered, nothing is more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to pursue, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead on the introduction of a new order of things, because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the current circumstances and lukewarm supporters among those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises in part from fear of the incumbents, who have the laws on their side, and in part from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long fill of them.”
I could see CargoFish working on a city-to-city basis, but is it really necessary to have each home connected to the system?
Well, we all need to eat, so unless the food reaches the table, we have to go out to eat, right? What about people who for whatever reason cannot always get out of their home? It may not ever reach every household, but it will find its own penetration level and completely transform the modern shopping experience.