Volocopter expands into utility drone business with heavy-lift VoloDrone

Volocopter Press Release | October 30, 2019

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 25 seconds.

Volocopter, a leader in urban air mobility, presented the demonstrator of its VoloDrone on Oct 30. This marks the company’s expansion into the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure and public services industry. The VoloDrone is an unmanned, fully electric, heavy-lift utility drone capable of carrying a payload of up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds). With a standardized payload attachment, VoloDrone can serve a great variety of purposes from transporting boxes, to liquids, to equipment and beyond.

The VoloDrone is sized to be compatible with Euro-palette packages, in addition to accommodating customized equipment. Volocopter Photo

The VoloDrone is a powerful utility drone aimed to carry a payload of 200 kg up to 40 kilometers (440 lbs / 25 miles). The rotor area of the VoloDrone has a diameter of 9.2 meters and sits at 2.3 meters high. It can be remotely piloted or flown in automated mode on pre-set routes. Thanks to the standardized rail attachment system, commonly applied in aerospace and logistics, the VoloDrone can accommodate a wide variety of payloads, housed in the space between its landing gear. Sized to be compatible with Euro-palette packages, it provides enough space for a sling, a sprayer or other customized equipment.

The VoloDrone has been engineered to serve challenging missions across industries ranging from agriculture, logistics, and infrastructure to public services, offering time and cost advantages compared to existing solutions.

Use cases include transporting heavy packages to remote locations, protecting crops in agriculture, lifting voluminous parts on buildings on construction sites, and many more. Anywhere ground transportation means are challenged by difficult accessibility, the VoloDrone may help by adding the air delivery dimension.

A team of specialists based at the special airfield in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich has developed the aircraft. “Since the very beginning, we have worked with strategic partners across different industries to develop a product that will provide significant value in their specific use cases. It is therefore designed as a universal air-lift vehicle, that can be adapted to different use cases by special-purpose implements. Listening to the market demands is key for us,” said Christophe Hommet, chief engineer at VoloDrone.

The first flight of the VoloDrone demonstrator in October 2019 marks the beginning of intensive customer interaction in real-life applications, which provides the basis for the serial product.

Sharing strong synergy with the existing Volocopter air taxi platform, the VoloDrone benefits from the accumulated technology competence and flight testing already performed on the Volocopter: its multicopter platform with 18 rotors and swappable lithium-ion batteries as well as the in-house flight control solutions provide a strong reliable basis for the VoloDrone.

“Our core business remains urban air mobility and the transportation of passengers. However, the technological platform of the Volocopter can bring outstanding value to a variety of additional applications. With the VoloDrone, Christophe and his team are bringing the benefits of Volocopter technology to the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure, and public services space,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “It expands our leading position in sustainable, fully electric eVTOLs to a host of new applications.”

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