Most delivery drones undergoing testing today are small and light enough to take with one hand, which usually includes a snack or a few meds.
However, Volocopter has produced a much larger drone-like machine for more heavy payloads.
In Volodrone’s first public flight this week, the German company demonstrated the vehicle’s airworthiness and demonstrated how it could be deployed for cargo transport.
Organized in partnership with logistics firm and Volocopter investor DG Schenker, the demonstration included a typical drone-delivery operation, including loading, launch, flight, landing and unloading.
The VoloDrone electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft was first unveiled in 2019 as a greener solution for transporting large payloads, in which the aircraft could be flown remotely or autonomously.
Since then, the company has been refining the design of the 18-rotor vehicle, with changes including the addition of a sturdier container to replace the cargo-carrying net seen with the older version.
The Volodrone has a range of 25 miles (40 km) and can carry a payload of up to 440 pounds (200 kg) while flying at a speed of 50 mph (80 kph).
While we don’t envision Volodrone delivering large TVs or other bulky items to online shoppers on behalf of companies like Amazon, we certainly do see it as a useful tool for business-to-business operations such as mid-mile delivery or pick-up. can be seen as a solution. Stock Volodrones in remote areas can also be used to get critical supplies to inaccessible locations affected by disasters, and for daily operations at locations like construction sites.
The Volocopter was launched 10 years ago with a passenger-carrying aircraft that inspired the design of the Volodrone. Earlier this year the company unveiled another machine, the Voloconnect, an EVTOL aircraft capable of carrying four passengers at speeds of up to 112 mph (180 kph) while traveling up to 62 miles (100 km). able to. The company says it plans to test a full-scale prototype of VoloConnect with the aim of achieving certification over the next five years. Its fleet also includes the Volocity, a small EVTOL aircraft for two passengers.
Volocopter is in a race with other companies to create so-called “flying taxis” for eco-friendly urban mobility services, although regulators will have to be happy with the aircraft design and associated infrastructure before any such service can become a reality.