Developed in partnership with DB Schenker, a Volocopter investor since 2020, the VoloDrone took a 3-minute flight in Hamburg, reaching a maximum altitude of 22 meters (72 ft). To make this demonstration more relevant, the VoloDrone had to transport a Euro-pallet-sized load to a DB Schenker cargo bike, proving its abilities to carry heavy packages and make last-mile deliveries.
The utility drone managed to take off smoothly, fly to its destination, and land safely. It then transferred the load to the cargo bike, which delivered the package to the final destination, successfully completing the delivery simulation.
Designed for heavy-lifting, the drone can carry any of the six International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes. These loads can weigh up to 440 lb (200 kg), and the VoloCopter can fly with them at a distance of approximately 25 miles (40 km). The drone is 30 ft (9.15 m) in diameter, 7 ft (2.15 m) tall, and its maximum take-off weight is 1,322 lb (600 kg). In addition, it has beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities.
Volocopter says its eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft can be deployed where conventional transport options reach their limits.
This is not the first flight of the VoloDrone, with the company conducting constant test flights in Germany using the VTOL since 2019. But this one was the first public delivery simulation of the heavy-lift utility drone.
According to Volocopter, the VoloDrone is suitable for a wide range of applications. It can be used in retail deliveries, time-critical medical ones, in daily operations such as construction, maintenance, site planning. The drone can also be deployed to provide disaster relief, air rescue, and it is useful in agriculture and forestry, for plant protection, forest management, frost control, and more.