The majority of delivery drones now being tested are small and light enough to pick up with one hand, with payloads typically consisting of a snack or some medications.
Volocopter, on the other hand, has developed a considerably larger drone-like machine capable of carrying far heavier cargo.
The German business demonstrated the VoloDrone’s airworthiness and how it may be used for cargo transportation during its first-ever public flight this week.
The demonstration, which was held in collaboration with logistics firm and Volocopter investor DG Schenker, comprised a typical drone delivery operation, which included loading, launch, flight, landing, and unloading.
The VoloDrone electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft, which can be flown remotely or autonomously, was first announced in 2019 as a greener method for transporting heavy cargoes.
Since then, the business has worked to improve the design of the 18-rotor vehicle, including the inclusion of a sturdy container to replace the cargo-carrying net featured on previous models.
The VoloDrone has a range of 25 miles (40 kilometers) and can carry payloads of up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) while flying at 50 mph (80 kph).
While we don’t envision the VoloDrone delivering giant televisions or other bulky things to online buyers on behalf of Amazon, we can see it being beneficial for business-to-business activities like middle-mile deliveries or transporting inventory to remote locations. The VoloDrone might also be used to deliver critical supplies to hard-to-reach disaster-stricken areas, as well as for day-to-day operations on building sites.
Volocopter debuted a passenger-carrying helicopter ten years ago, which influenced the design of the VoloDrone. The VoloConnect, an eVTOL aircraft capable of carrying four passengers at speeds of up to 112 mph (180 kph) on distances of up to 62 miles, was announced earlier this year (100 km). The company says it plans to test full-scale prototypes of the VoloConnect in the next five years in order to receive certification. The VoloCity, a two-passenger eVTOL aircraft, is also part of the company’s fleet.
Volocopter is competing with other businesses to develop a “flying taxi” for ecologically friendly urban mobility services, albeit regulators must approve the aircraft design and related infrastructure before such a service can be implemented.