Volocopter expands into utility drone business with fully-electric VoloDrone demonstrator.
Volocopter, an active innovator in the aerial mobility industry, presented the demonstrator of its VoloDrone on October 30th near the company’s headquarters in Germany. This marks Volocopter’s expansion into the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure and public services industry. The VoloDrone is an unmanned, fully electric, heavy-lift utility drone capable of carrying a payload of up to 200 kg (440 lbs). With its adaptable payload system, Volocopter aims to reach a wide swath of market opportunities ranging from agriculture, logistics, and infrastructure to public services, all while offering time and cost advantages compared to existing solutions.
The VoloDrone’s propulsion system is visually similar to that of the iconic Volocopter 2X. The rotor area of the VoloDrone has a diameter of 9.2 m and sits at 2.3 m height, allowing for a maximum range of up to 40 km (25 miles). It can be remotely piloted or flown in automated mode on pre-set routes. The aircraft is also outfitted with a standardized rail attachment system commonly applied in aerospace and logistics in order to accommodate a wide variety of payloads. Built to be compatible with Euro-palette packages, it provides enough space for a sling, a sprayer or other customized equipment.
A team of specialists based at the special airfield in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich has developed the aircraft. “Since the very beginning, we have worked with strategic partners across different industries to develop a product that will provide significant value in their specific use cases. It is therefore designed as a universal air-lift vehicle, that can be adapted to different use cases by special-purpose implements. Listening to the market demands is key for us,” says Christophe Hommet, Chief Engineer of the VoloDrone. To learn more about Volocopter’s strategic ideology, Read Volocopter’s White Paper on Urban Air Mobility.
Sharing strong synergy with the existing Volocopter air taxi platform, the VoloDrone benefits from the accumulated technology competence and flight testing already performed on the Volocopter: its multicopter platform with 18 rotors and swappable lithium-ion batteries as well as the in-house flight control solutions provide a strong reliable basis for the VoloDrone.
“Our core business remains Urban Air Mobility and the transportation of passengers. However, the technological platform of the Volocopter can bring outstanding value to a variety of additional applications. With the VoloDrone, Christophe and his team are bringing the benefits of Volocopter technology to the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure, and public services space,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “It expands our leading position in sustainable, fully electric eVTOLs to a host of new applications.”
Why it’s important: The first flight of the VoloDrone demonstrator in October 2019 marks the beginning of intensive customer interaction in real-life applications, which provides the basis for the serial product. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are seeing new opportunities to apply aerial mobility technology to the logistics industry, and as it leads to increased competition in the sector, could benefit and expedite the implementation of the technology for human transportation.
Source // Volocopter