The civilian Cargo Drone is a civilian ship in Escape Velocity Nova.

"The Cargo Drone is an inter-ship and in-system cargo transportation droid. It has a very simple Lebowickz-Huffman neural net, little turning ability and absolutely no shields. In war-torn systems these inoffensive craft are usually the first to be scrapped in a big firefight... not because they are deliberately targeted, but because one stray shot will total them." ― Buying a Cargo Drone
"Cargo drones that are offered for escort duty operate a sophisticated one-time-cipher key system to tell the droid brain who its current master is. Once the term of contract expires, or the owner runs out of funds, the drone will peel off to return to the corporation that owns it. Many free traders still have suits outstanding for produce hijacked by a drone that defected mid-run." ― Hiring a Cargo Drone

Gameplay Analysis

"You can't buy it, only hire it. It's cheap. It's cheap for a reason." ― EVula Survival Guide
Cargo Drones are known to be the weakest ships in the game, even more so than the Shuttle, as they have no weapons, nearly zero shields and armor, and cannot move quickly at all. Some plug-ins do allow you to use them as ships, but it is very hard to get far in any missions or do anything at all in a Drone, due to its low survivability. On the other hand, it is an incredibly cheap way of increasing one's cargo capacity early in the game, costing only one-fifth of the amount required to hire a Shuttle, for the same amount of cargo space.

An unorthodox use for Cargo Drones is to use them as meatshields. Their hiring cost and pay per day is negligible, you pay no penalty for losing them, they follow you no matter how far you go (according to specifications, the drone should only have 2 jumps worth, but escorts ignore that stat), and your ship can shoot right through them without damaging them. Thus, Cargo Drones may pass for makeshift cover in a tight pinch. They might not be able to take more than a single hit, but if you have a whole fleet of them, that sometimes can mean the difference between breaking through a blockade and ending up a crater on a planet's surface. They're not very effect for any sort of weapon with area of effect damage (like Hellhound Missiles and EMP Torpedoes)

Of course, should you be flying a regular Cargo Drone, remember not to get shot. You may survive one hit, but not much more.

And don't bother disabling and attempting to steal the cargo from a Drone, as due to the design, cargo cannot be transferred from one to a different ship.

Nova Civilians
Civilians Civilian Ships: Cargo Drone (v) (i) 2k as escort only, Shuttle (v) (i) 10k, Heavy Shuttle (v) (i) 17.5k, Viper (v) (i) 80k, Asteroid Miner (i) 150k, Terrapin (v) (i) 150k, Lightning (WG) (v) (i) 250k, Thunderhead (v) (i) 300k, Valkyrie (v) (i) 350k, Star Liner (v) (i) 500k, Starbridge (v) (i) 600k (Modified (v) (i) 750k), IDA Frigate (v) (i) 750k, Pegasus (v) (i) 2M, Leviathan (v) (i) 12M
Civilian OutfitsCivilian WeaponsFederation Licenses
Side Missions Cunjo HuntEscort BandGLi-Tech (Missions) • Launch ProbeSigma Shipyards (Main MissionsRepeatable Missions) • Temmin ShardTerraformingTutorialUnited Shipping (Main MissionsRepeatable Missions)
Other Missions DerelictsDuelsRevengePunishmentBlow Stuff Up
Bounty Hunters Bounty Hunters Storyline (Minor StorylineHeraan LinkRebel Link)
Wild Geese Wild Geese Storyline (PreambleIntro MissionsPath 1Path 2Heraan LinkAssociation Link)
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