Watch: DB Schenker and Volocopter Successfully Test Heavy-Lift Drone
DB Schenker and Volocopter successfully demonstrated heavy-duty VoloDrone’s, seamless integration into the logistics supply chain with an end-to-end cargo transport demonstration at ITS World Congress 2021.
The partners showed their significant progress together since DB Schenker became a strategic investor of Volocopter in early 2020.
The 3-minute test flight took off at 3:02 p.m. at homePORT Hamburg and reached a maximum altitude of 22 metres. For this delivery simulation, the electric heavy-lift utility drone was equipped with a load-box in between its landing gear.
First, the demonstration teams secured a Euro-pallet sized load to the box under the VoloDrone, followed by a smooth take-off. After this, the aircraft brought the payload to a DB Schenker Cargo Bike and landed safely.
Once the payload was transferred successfully, the Cargo Bike delivered its cargo to the final destination under the area’s park deck, marking the completion of the entirely electric, multimodal last-mile delivery.
Erik Wirsing, Vice President Global Innovation at DB Schenker, commented: “With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to publicly demonstrate our successful collaboration and the impressive progress on DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for cleaner logistics.
"Volocopter has proven again that they are the ideal partner for DB Schenker’s ambition to rethink global supply chains and bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers while saving emissions.”
Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO said: “This first public VoloDrone flight is a strong sign for Volocopter´s leading position in the UAM industry. We are the only UAM company offering solutions for passengers and goods that are flying fully scaled and publicly around the world.
“Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable. DB Schenker is an invaluable partner in our endeavor to untap the massive potential of our VoloDrone’s logistics use cases.”
The demonstration in Hamburg builds upon the foundations of the static proof of concept (PoC) the partners conducted in July this year in Stuttgart.
It laid out a blueprint of how to implement VoloDrone operations in logistics facilities globally.
The VoloDrone is an uncrewed, fully electric utility drone designed to carry any of the six International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a 40-kilometer range.
This electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is aimed to serve challenging missions across diverse industries.
In addition to developing the aircraft, Volocopter is organizing the physical (VoloPorts) and digital (VoloIQ) infrastructure to support these services, which are set to launch in the next 2-3 years.
VoloIQ serves as the digital backbone for operations.
This platform will support ecosystem aspects like Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO), Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO), Flight Analytics, Vehicle Connectivity, Autonomous Operations, and more.
The VoloDrone’s first flight took place in 2019. Since then, regular flight tests have been conducted at various airfields in Germany.
The drone itself is 9.15 meters in diameter, 2.15 meters tall, and has a 600-kilogram maximum take-off weight (MTOW). Future VoloDrone operations will be fully electric with autonomous beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS)