As a part of a project which aims to compile important practical flying experience before its drones/air taxis starts servicing the global markets, German aviation startup, Volocopter has partnered with leading logistics service provider, DB Schenker to deploy its heavy-lift drones.
Volocopter develops battery-powered aircraft and aims to launch its VoloDrone soon in the market. The startup is still waiting to receive full certification for its air taxis.
According to the reports, the remote-controlled drone can lift a load of up to 200 kilograms and has a range of 40 kilometres, making it ideal for jobs such as delivering medicines to a hospital or dropping off components at a factory.
Florian Reuter, CEO, Volocopter said in a statement, “The logistics opportunity in the urban market is just as big as the passenger market.”
While Volocopter-Schenker partnership is totally aimed at business-to-business operationa,there are various e-commerce players in the market like Amazon that have already received US approval to test drone deliveries to customers.
Rueter added in the statement, “When people associate logistics with drones they always think of the 3 kg, last-mile delivery to the doorstep. It’s the middle mile, not the last mile, that we are serving.”
Jochen Thewes, CEO, Schenker also said, “Drones are a technology that would allow us to rethink supply chains for city logistics. Our common goal is to have a commercial proof case up and running in 2021.”
According to Reuter, “Full certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is expected for the 18-rotor VoloCity air taxi towards the end of 2022. The VoloDrone, with a similar design, should follow in 2023.”
He added, “Any Schenker employee in a distribution centre will be able to operate this,” said Reuter. “It will be as common as having a driving licence.”