By Chris Stonor
Hamburg, Germany was chosen as the first public airing of the VoloDrone during the ITS World Congress 2021 event this week, reports a press release. Together with partner DB Schenker, Volocopter demonstrated its cargo craft to show the world what progress has been made.
The 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. on Tuesday at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 metres. The release says, “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.”
It goes on, “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.”
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter, commented, “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.”
Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation of DB Schenker, added, “With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to demonstrate our successful collaboration and continued progress.”
The demonstration in Hamburg laid out a blueprint of “how to implement VoloDrone operations in logistics facilities globally.” It showed “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 craft designed to carry any of the six International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a 40-kilometer range.
The Volodrone’s first flight took place in 2019. Since then, regular flight tests have been conducted at various airfields in Germany. The drone itself is 9.15 meters in diameter, 2.15 meters tall, and has a 600-kilogram maximum take-off weight (MTOW). Future VoloDrone operations will include BVLOS capabilities.
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