Volocopter and international logistics leader, DB Schenker, announced that they have successfully conducted a joint static proof of concept (PoC) at Messe Stuttgart for VoloDrone ground operations in logistic centers. Together, the partners are creating the first blueprint for electric cargo drone ground operations in logistics with the support of Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.
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.
The recent static PoC test demonstrated how logistics operators can manage personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles, and VoloDrones to create an efficient process and a safe environment for future VoloDrone operations. The blueprint derived from these results will be the first of its kind and serve as a basis for integrating VoloDrone operations in logistics networks across the globe, realizing automation and sustainability ambitions in supply chains.
Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter, says: “By developing a blueprint for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is leading the way into the next dimension of transport logistics with tangible and operational data backing our service claims. Our work with DB Schenker shows that they are a great investor, a valuable partner, and an enabler for our commercial VoloDrone operations.”
The research teams from Volocopter, DB Schenker, and Fraunhofer IML simulated the VoloDrone integration in a logistics network by examining the ground processes for coding goods, assessing safe cargo loads and goods, testing the automated supply of the drone through autonomous vehicles, and identifying other necessary pre-flight cargo checks. Following this, the processes for transporting and loading the VoloDrone payload were conducted and examined to identify safe, standard procedures for employees on the ground preparing the VoloDrone for flight.
The VoloDrone, Volocopter’s heavy-lift and versatile cargo drone, is battery powered, can transport a 200 kg payload up to 40 km, and has 18 rotors and motors powering the electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. This UAM solution for intracity logistics will operate within Volocopter’s UAM ecosystem for cities, also consisting of passenger mobility services (VoloCity and VoloConnect), their infrastructure (VoloPort), and a digital backbone to coordinate and view all operations in real-time (VoloIQ). Learn more about the Volodrone aircraft in the TransportUP Hangar.
Why it’s important: Volocopter’s various partnerships with industry leaders in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management will be critical components to expedite building the ecosystem necessary to ‘Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life’. As articulated by Erik Wirsing, Global Head of Innovation at DB Schenker, “the VoloDrone unlocks new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key element for DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics. Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is most evident in their practical solutions, their customer-centric approach, and their commitment to bring UAM to life.”
Source // sUAS News