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Volocopter’s VoloDrone electric heavy transport drone made its first public flight at the ITS 2021 World Congress. In collaboration with the international leader in logistics DB Schenker, Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM), demonstrated the seamless integration of VoloDrone into the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end freight transport demonstration. The partners have together shown their significant progress since DB Schenker became a strategic investor of Volocopter in early 2020.
The 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. on October 12 at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 meters. For this delivery simulation, the heavy-lift electric utility drone was equipped with a loading box between its landing gear. First, the demonstration teams secured a load the size of a European pallet in the trunk under the VoloDrone, followed by a smooth takeoff. After that, the aircraft brought the payload onto a DB Schenker cargo bike and landed safely. After the payload was successfully transferred, the Cargo Bike delivered its cargo to the final destination under the Zone Park Bridge, marking the completion of the last mile fully electric and multimodal delivery.
“This first public flight by VoloDrone is a strong sign of Volocopter’s leadership position in the UAM industry. We are the only UAM company to provide solutions for passengers and cargo that fly on a large scale and publicly around the world, ”said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient and sustainable. DB Schenker is an invaluable partner in our efforts to harness the enormous potential of our VoloDrone’s logistical use cases.
Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation at DB Schenker, comments: “With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to publicly demonstrate our successful collaboration and the impressive progress of DB Schenker’s roadmap for innovation and sustainability for cleaner logistics. Volocopter has proven once again that they are the ideal partner for DB Schenker’s ambition to rethink global supply chains and take transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers while reducing emissions.
The demonstration in Hamburg builds on the foundations of the Static Proof of Concept (PoC) that the partners conducted in July this year in Stuttgart. He presented a model for the implementation of VoloDrone operations in logistics facilities around the world.
The VoloDrone is a fully electric unmanned utility drone designed to carry one of the six sizes of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallets, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a distance of 40 kilometers. As part of Volocopter’s strong portfolio of UAM aircraft for transporting passengers (VoloCity and VoloConnect) and freight in cities, the VoloDrone is positioned to be deployed where conventional transport options reach their limits. In addition to the development of the aircraft, Volocopter is organizing the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are expected to be launched within the next 2-3 years. VoloIQ serves as the digital backbone for operations.
The first flight of the VoloDrone took place in 2019. Since then, regular flight tests have been carried out at various aerodromes in Germany. The drone itself is 9.15 meters in diameter, 2.15 meters high, and has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 600 kilograms. Future VoloDrone operations will be fully electric with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.
This press release has been prepared and distributed by Volocopter.