Hamburg, DE, 12 October 2021 – Volocopter’s electric heavy-lift drone VoloDrone conducted its first public flight today at ITS World Congress 2021. Together with the international logistics leader DB Schenker, Volocopter, the pioneer of urban air mobility (UAM), demonstrated VoloDrone’s seamless integration 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 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 meters. 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.
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 Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a 40-kilometer 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.
UAM utilizes innovative aircraft to provide mobility solutions to metropolitan areas. In addition to developing the aircraft, Volocopter is organizing the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are set to launch in the next 2-3 years. VoloIQ serves as the digital backbone for operations. This platform will support ecosystem aspects like Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO), Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO), Flight Analytics, Vehicle Connectivity, Autonomous Operations, and more.
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 be fully electric with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.
Volocopter is building the world’s first sustainable and scalable urban air mobility business to bring affordable air taxi services to megacities worldwide. With the VoloCity, the company is developing the first fully electric “eVTOL” aircraft in certification to transport passengers safely and quietly within cities. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life’.
In 2011, Volocopter performed the first-ever crewed flight of a purely electric multicopter and has since showcased numerous public flights with its full-scale aircraft. The most notable have been the public test flights at Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019 and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai 2017. Volocopter is also developing products for the logistics space with their heavy-lift cargo variant, the VoloDrone.
Founded in 2011 by Stephan Wolf and Alexander Zosel, Volocopter has 400 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore. The company has raised a total of €322 million in equity. Volocopter’s investors include Daimler, Geely, DB Schenker, BlackRock, and Intel Capital amongst others.
Find out more at: www.volocopter.com
About DB Schenker
With around 74,200 employees at more than 2,100 locations in over 130 countries, DB Schenker is one of the world’s leading logistics providers. The company operates land, air, and ocean transportation services, and it also offers comprehensive solutions for logistics and global supply chain management from a single source. DB Schenker holds top positions in automotive, technology, consumer goods, trade fair logistics, special transports, and special events logistics.