October 12, 2021
Volocopter announced that its electric, heavy-lift drone VoloDrone has conducted its first public flight, held at the ITS World Congress 2021 in Hamburg, Germany. With international logistics firm DB Schenker, Volocopter demonstrated the VoloDrone’s seamless integration ito the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end cargo transport demonstration. In early 2020, DB Schenker became a strategic investor in VoloCopter, and the demonstration showed their progress since that investment, the company said.
The three-minute test took off at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 meters. For the delivery simulation, the drone was equipped with a lod-box in between its landing gear. The demonstration teams secured a Euro-pallet sized load to the box under the VoloDrone, followed by a takeoff. The aircraft then brought the payload to a DB Schenker Cargo Bike and landed safely. Once the payload was transferred successfully, the Cargo Bike delivered its cargo to the final destination, under the area’s park deck, marking the completion of an entirely electric, multimodal last-mile delivery.
“The first public VoloDrone flight is a strong sign for Volocopter’s leading position in the UAM [urban air mobility] industry,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “We are the only UAM company offering solutions for passengers and goods that are flying fully scaled and publicly around the world. Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable. DB Schenker is an invaluable partner in our endeavor to untap the massive potential of our VoloDrone’s logistics use cases.”
The VoloDrone is an uncrewed, fully electric utility drone designed to carry any of the six International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kg (440 pounds), over a 40-km (24.85 miles) range. The drone itself is 9.15 meters in diameter, 2.15 meters tall, and has a 600-kg maximum takeoff weight. The company sadi future VoloDrone operations will be fully electric, with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.
The VoloDrone is part of Volocopter’s UAM aircraft portfolio, which includes VoloCity and VoloConnect. In addition to the aircraft, Volocopter is organizing the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are set to launch in the next two to three years.
“With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to publicly demonstrate our successful collaboration and the impressive progress on DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for cleaner logistics,” said Erik Wirsing, vice president of global innovation at DB Schenker. “Volocopter has proven again that they are the ideal partner for DB Schenker’s ambition to rethink global supply chains and bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers while saving emissions.”
For more details on the Volocopter portfolio, visit its website here.