Skyports Drone Services and electric autonomous aircraft manufacturer Pyka have agreed on a partnership for heavy payload drone logistics. The collaboration plans to leverage Skyports Drone Services’ extensive operational experience as well as Pyka’s heavy payload aircraft to provide heavy drone delivery services.
The partnership specifically involves Skyports Drone Services and the recently unveiled Pyka Pelican Cargo uncrewed aerial system (UAS). The large autonomous electric aircraft’s 175+ kg payload capacity and 1.85 cubic meters cargo volume significantly increases Skyports Drone Services’ payload capabilities and complements the existing lineup of UAS solutions currently utilized by the UK drone operator. Pyka’s Pelican Cargo will be deployed for a range of use cases and operations, including services for humanitarian aid, logistics and delivery companies, as well as healthcare and medical organizations.
A full flight program with Pelican Cargo will begin in early Q2 in Cornwall, UK, and will include flights for the Future Flight Challenge phase three Open Skies Cornwall project, one of four UK Research & Innovation funded projects won by Skyports Drone Services in July 2022.
The introduction of Pyka’s Pelican Cargo aircraft into the Skyports Drone Services fleet supports the company’s ambitions of implementing drone operations at scale. The substantial uplift in capacity strengthens the UK drone operator’s proposition and market position.
Alex Brown, Director, Skyports Drone Services, said: “Having a fully electric, autonomous, heavy lift cargo drone in our fleet is a real gamechanger. To date, we’ve been focused on operations with smaller, high value payloads; the introduction of the Pelican Cargo brings new capabilities and means we can now fly significant volumes of cargo long distances, connecting communities in remote areas and providing a regular, robust form of transport in and out of hard-to-reach areas. Importantly, we’re doing this now – this isn’t future gazing, it’s a ready-to-go service.”
Why it’s important: Skyports’ partnership with Pyka will facilitate additional operational experience of heavy lift drones, which will carry payloads similar to that of smaller eVTOL aircraft. Additionally, since Pyka’s heavy lift drone technology is ready for usage, Skyports and Pyka will gain valuable insights into fine tuning their operation and future scaling efforts to make a more compelling business case for this type of service to be rolled out in other areas across the globe.