London: Enormous airships that can lift heavy loads over long distances can also shift entire buildings from one place to another.
Australian firm Skylifter is developing a piloted airship that will carry up to 150 tonnes, about 700 times the weight lifted by a heavy cargo copter, for about 2,000 km.
They hope that the vehicles could one day carry rural hospitals and disaster-relief centres to remote areas.
The airship has been designed as a disc rather than a conventional cigar shape to better manage heavy loads under different wind conditions, say manufacturers, reports the Daily Mail.
Measuring 500 feet, the size of a football stadium, it will move using propellers which can be adjusted to change direction while the heavy weight of the load hanging underneath keeps the airship steady.
Skylifter has already produced a prototype called Betty which is just under 10 feet across and can carry just over a pound in weight.
It has also produced a 60-foot-wide prototype of the balloon design itself without an engine. The firm plans to launch a full-sized prototype, nearly 150 feet wide, within the next three years.