For every specialty here at Volocopter, we rely on a dedicated team of experts - like the one devoted to our heavy-lift cargo drone. We sat down with the VoloDrone team to find out the answers to some of our burning questions, and share our insights into how our heavy-lift cargo drone came to be.
Let's start with an easy question: How big is the team and where is it based?
Right now we are a team of about 30 people: engineers, flight mechanics, system architects, business developers, and other specialists, and we all work at our development site in Munich, Germany.
Can you describe a typical day?
Simply put, our team is working toward bringing urban air mobility to life every single day.
Our work revolves around the development of the VoloDrone, Volocopter’s heavy-lift cargo drone. The drone's mission is to serve heavy-lift operations in various fields - like logistics, agriculture, and public services. And one of Volocopter's primary goals is to achieve the highest safety standards and product maturity. To accomplish this, our team of highly qualified engineers integrates a wide range of technologies that leverage their extensive aerospace experience: mechanical design and architecture, electrical systems and propulsion, flight control law development, and flight testing. All with the aim of developing a marketable eVTOL for cargo-forward missions.
But, the VoloDrone's development extends far beyond just the aircraft itself. We also need to effectively integrate our capabilities into existing value chains. We do this by running ground tests that exercise payload handling, ergonomics, and automation. This is our way of ensuring that we create the best possible product for our future customers. After all, they are ultimately the people we wish to serve and whose quality of life we aim to improve.
We plan to do this by coming up with a solution that meets market demands with a customer-centric approach. We do this by idenitfying their needs and translating their voice into a product strategy that adds value to multiple industries.
Can you tell us about a project you're currently working on?
We just conducted our first VoloDrone public flight in Hamburg, Germany, and the response was simply amazing! This was a huge milestone for us as it represents an integral part of our development roadmap as we move closer to launching commercial operations. The VoloDrone public flight allowed us to demonstrate the maturity of our product by flying over Germany's largest port - which is also conveniently situated in an urban environment, i.e., this ties in nicely with our target use case.
This incredible team effort showcased both our technical expertise and the dedication we imbue not only into the VoloDrone heavy-lift cargo drone, but also into all the products and services across our entire portfolio.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
One of the most exciting aspects of day-to-day life on the VoloDrone team is how transparent we are with each other regarding the complete evolution of our UAM aircraft. Specifically, our planning routines make it possible for the whole team to see the latest developments. We document the progress made by all of our teammates on a daily basis. Notes like the following are not uncommon: "We successfully released a new software version," "Ground tests went well," "The aircraft behaved very well with our new cargo box," and so on.
We are very proud of the continuous progress and are especially happy to see the strides we are making with our aircraft. Every day is another step toward a mature, safe, and certified product.
And what would you say are the challenges of your job?
I'd say the challenging part is also the most exciting: being at the cutting edge of developing the world's first-to-launch eVTOL aircraft. We are the drivers of the UAM industry, and many of the challenges we face arise from this mission. Be it supporting the development of new certification frameworks, integrating advanced autonomy suites, or fine-tuning our battery technology and electrical systems. And we do it all while ensuring that every aspect of it can be effectively integrated into existing value chains.
Thanks for your time and for sharing your insights with us today!