Volocopter, DB Schenker present innovative cargo drone at National Aviation Conference in Germany
The urban air mobility pioneer Volocopter and global logistics service provider DB Schenker are developing solutions for the fast and emission-free transport of goods. Volocopter’s heavy-lift drone was presented to German federal politicians for the first time at the National Aviation Conference (Nationale Luftfahrtkonferenz) at Berlin Brandenburg Airport. The aircraft is autonomously and electrically operated and can transport up to 200 kilograms of cargo with a range of up to 40 kilometers.
Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker said, “Our customers demand clean, fast and innovative solutions for their supply chains. When the infrastructure for conventional means of transport is overburdened or non-existent, cargo drones offer an opportunity to rethink logistics routes. The possible applications in logistics are limitless. Through our partnership with Volocopter, this vision is gradually becoming reality. Drone transport is becoming increasingly tangible. The National Aviation Conference in Berlin offers us a very good opportunity to give German politicians a live impression of this.”
Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter said, “Our VoloDrone will be put to use, where classical ground transportation meets its limits in logistics, construction, or agriculture. We have ten years of flight experience and our advanced status in the certifications process with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) bears tremendous synergies for all our aircraft. DB Schenker is a leading logistics partner, with whom we are readying our VoloDrone specifically for the commercial use in different logistics applications.”
The VoloDrone exhibited onsite at the National Aviation Conference is a test aircraft from Volocopter with a sample transport container from DB Schenker. In commercial operation, it will be able to cover distances of up to 40 kilometers. The drone is 9.15 meters in diameter and 2.15 meters tall. The VoloDrone aircraft weighs 600 kilograms with an additional payload of up to 200 kilograms. The drone operations will be fully electric with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities. The drone can take off and land vertically. The first flight took place in 2019. Since then, regular flight tests have been conducted at various airfields in southern Germany.
Future logistical applications for the heavy-lift drone include places that are difficult or slower to reach by other means, such as islands, land-to-ship deliveries, transport to mountainous regions, or places isolated from road networks following natural disasters. Intra-city deliveries are also plausible use cases.
DB Schenker has been an investor in Volocopter since 2020. Jochen Thewes, CEO of DB Schenker, is a member of the advisory board. The goal is to further the development and market launch of the VoloDrone for the logistics industry. DB Schenker is testing numerous innovative and forward-looking technologies worldwide in order to make its services for customers even more flexible and climate-friendly and to further reduce noise emissions and pollution.