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The robotic 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

A drone for carrying cargo. Easily destroyed. Used as cannon fodder or as part of an early trading fleet.


"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

Standard model (#130)[]

  • Purchase/Hire Appearance %: 0%/95%
  • Hire Cost: 200cr/upfront 20cr/day
  • Nova pict 6070 thumb Speed: 400
  • Nova pict 6069 thumb Acceleration: 200
  • Nova pict 6072 thumb Turning: 20
  • Nova pict 6067 thumb Shields: 20
  • Nova pict 6065 thumb Shield Regen: 2
  • Nova pict 6065 thumb Shield Recharge per second: 0.06
  • Nova pict 6065 thumb Minutes to recharge Shields: 5.555
  • Nova pict 6052 thumb Armor: 20
  • Nova pict 6309 thumb Disabled at Armor %: 33%
  • Nova pict 6309 thumb Pre-disabled Armor: 13
  • Nova pict 6309 thumb Total Fighting HP: 33
  • Nova pict 6134 thumb Max Ion: 3
  • Nova pict 6134 thumb Deionize: 1
  • Nova pict 6061 thumb Cargo Space: 10t
  • Nova pict 6128 thumb Energy: 200
  • Nova pict 6074 thumb Jump Time: 1 day
  • Nova pict 6073 thumb Jump Speed: 150%
  • Targetable by PD?: Yes
  • Strength: 1
  • AI Type: Wimpy Trader

Technical Variants[]

Stat changes are relative to the stats of the basic model. The basic model is Standard Model.

The following shipvariant is unavailable in the shipyard and serves a particular visual purpose.

Economy at Work (#393)[]

  • Nova pict 6072 thumb Turning: 40 (+20)
  • Nova pict 6061 thumb Cargo Space: 5t (-5t)

This shipvariant moves between space objects in the system. You can observe this behavior in the Rautherion system.

Gameplay Analysis[]

Cargo Drone Shipyard

"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! They have no weapons, nearly zero shields and armor and cannot move quickly at all. On the other hand they are 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. To further compare that to outfit-based methods of cargo upgrade, a Cargo Expansion costs fifty times as much for the same capacity.

An unorthodox use for Cargo Drones is to use them as meat-shields. Their hiring cost and pay per day is negligible and you pay no penalty for losing them, yet they follow you no matter how far you go despite their low fuel count. Thus, Drones may pass for makeshift cover in a tight pinch as your ship can shoot right through them without damaging them. They might not be able to take more than a single hit, but if you have a whole fleet of them their sacrifice can make the difference between breaking through a blockade and ending up as debris in orbit. They will be scattered easily by any sort of weapon with area of effect damage like Hellhound Missiles or EMP Torpedoes.

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.


The Cargo Drone was made by Scott Vardy, with a remodel and animations by Dave Williams.


<ship description>

Ship Spins[]

This ship has 36 frames per set, 216 frames in total and 6 sets. The sets are shown in sequence to produce an animation of the solar panels spinning around the main hull.

  • Ship: 24x24
  • Lights: 24x24
  • Engine: 28x28

The Engine is visibly misaligned with the Ship.

Representative Images[]

Additional Images[]

Nova 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, Starbridge (v) (i) 600k (Modified (v) (i) 750k), IDA Frigate (v) (i) 750k
Civilian OutfitsCivilian WeaponsFederation Licenses
Sigma Ships Star Liner (v) (i) 500k, Pegasus (v) (i) 2M, Leviathan (v) (i) 12M
Auroran Civilian ships Argosy (v) (i) 200k, Enterprise (v) (i) 450k
Polaris Civilian ships Sprite (v) (i) 500k, Cambrian (v) (i) 2.5M
Activities Galactic Racing Network
Corporate Strings United Shipping ( Main MissionsRepeatables ) • Sigma Shipyards (Main MissionsBulk Deliveries) • GLi-Tech ( Missions ) • Terraforming ( UHP-1002New Ireland )
Side Missions (Klavs) Cunjo HuntEscort BandLaunch ProbeTemmin Shard
Other Missions TutorialStandard DeliveriesEscort MissionRefueling MissionDerelictsDuelsPunishmentBlow Stuff Up
Bounty Hunters Bounty Hunters Storyline ( Minor StorylineRepeatables ) • Heraan LinkRebel LinkForced Bureau)
Wild Geese Wild Geese Storyline ( Intro MissionsDeath PathLife Path ) • Heraan LinkAssociation Link)
Wild Geese Preamble