Volocopter’s electric heavy-lift drone VoloDrone conducted its first public flight recently at ITS Hamburg 2021. Together with the international logistics company DB Schenker, Volocopter demonstrated how the VoloDrone UAV can be integrated into the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end cargo transport demonstration. The partners showed their significant progress together since DB Schenker became a strategic investor of Volocopter in early 2020.
The three-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 metres. For this delivery simulation, the electric heavy-lift utility drone was equipped with a load-box in between its landing gear. 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.
“This first public VoloDrone flight is a strong sign for Volocopter´s leading position in the UAM industry. We are the only UAM company offering solutions for passengers and goods that are flying fully scaled and publicly around the world,” said Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO. “Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable. DB Schenker is an invaluable partner in our endeavour to untap the massive potential of our VoloDrone’s logistics use cases.”
The demonstration in Hamburg builds upon the foundations of the static proof of concept (PoC) the partners conducted in July this year in Stuttgart. It laid out a blueprint of how to implement VoloDrone operations in logistics facilities globally. With the first public flight of the VoloDrone, in Hamburg, Volocopter and DB Schenker demonstrated how drone operations can extend the existing logistics infrastructure for land or sea transport to create entirely new supply chains and transport routes.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 kilograms, over a 40-kilometre range. This electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is aimed to serve challenging missions across diverse industries. As one member of Volocopter’s robust UAM aircraft portfolio for transporting passengers (VoloCity and VoloConnect) and goods in cities, the VoloDrone is positioned to be deployed where conventional transport options reach their limits.