Wingcopter announced on April 27th the development of their new drone generation, the Wingcopter 198. The Wingcopter 198 is an all-electric, vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL), fixed-wing drone that has been designed from the ground up to meet aviation safety and reliability requirements. Importantly, the 198 features a triple-drop delivery system that allows for up to three packages to be delivered in a single flight, foreshadowing potential multi-modal aerial mobility operations schemes.
While the 198 is a small package delivery drone, the use case and mode structure for travel in a larger aerial mobility device with shared rides will aid in decreasing the total cost of ridership while increasing the utilization of aerial mobility aircraft. While the primary use case for aerial mobility is point to point transport of one group, the growing preference among logistical applications to evaluate shared and multi-modal trips is foreshadowing for future use cases within air taxi operation.
Serial production according to the European aerospace quality management standard EN9100 at Wingcopter’s German headquarters will start shortly to meet the predicted global demand. Wingcopter also announced the opening of reservation slots for the first 100 of their 198 drones.
Wingcopter stood up an Authorized Partner Program to qualify, certify and enable partners such as drone-as-a-service providers, distributors and dealers to operate, promote, distribute and support Wingcopter technology worldwide, similar to the proposed horizontal integration of many eVTOL manufacturers who plan to outsource development of booking platforms, service networks, and maintenance and repair operation services to third party entities which already specify in those areas. Leveraging such specializations will allow eVTOL makers to focus more heavily on the aircraft themselves and less so on the minutia of operationalizing paying customer flights.
Why it’s important: Wingcopter’s marketing of the 198’s triple-drop capabilities exposes an under appreciated sector of the aerial mobility industry – that of the multi-modal shared rider trip, which allows for higher utilization of aerial mobility aircraft, while also reducing cost of fares for passengers who may be sharing a trip with others, similar to Lyft and Uber Pool. Anticipate future eVTOL route structuring to consider the use of similar schemes for transport nodes.