Urban air mobility pioneer, Volocopter announced that its electric heavy-lift drone - VoloDrone conducted its first public flight on Tuesday at ITS World Congress 2021.
Along with the international logistics leader DB Schenker, the company demonstrated VoloDrone's seamless integration into the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end cargo transport demonstration. In addition, the partners showed their significant progress together since DB Schenker became a strategic investor of Volocopter in early 2020.
The 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 meters. The electric heavy-lift utility drone was equipped with a load-box in between its landing gear for this delivery simulation. First, the demonstration teams secured a Euro-pallet sized load to the box under the VoloDrone, followed by a smooth take-off. After this, the aircraft 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 the entirely electric, multimodal last-mile delivery.
The VoloDrone is an uncrewed, fully electric utility drone designed to carry any of the six International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kgs, over a 40 km range. It is positioned to be deployed where conventional transport options reach their limits. In addition to developing the aircraft, the company is organising the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are set to launch in the next two to three years. VoloIQ serves as the digital backbone for operations.
Florian Reuter, CEO, Volocopter, said, '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.'
Erik Wirsing, Vice President, Global Innovation, DB Schenker, said, '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. 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.'