Wingcopter and Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences are trialing the potential of delivering consumer goods by drone to improve local supply in rural communities, reports a press release.
The project called ‘Drohnen-Lastenrad-Express-Belieferung’ (Drone Cargo Bike Express Delivery), is funded with close to EUR500,000 from the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport.
Everyday goods are to be flown by Wingcopter to surrounding villages in southern Hesse in Germany, where there’ll be picked up and then delivered the final mile by cargo bike to the populace. This trial is to be evaluated from an economic and environmental point of view and, if successful, a sustainable and easily scalable business model will be developed. The planned start of the first flights is in spring 2023.
Members Of The Project
Professor Dr. Kai-Oliver Schocke, Director of the Frankfurt UAS Research Lab for Urban Transport (ReLUT), commented, “In many rural areas today, supply is severely limited due to the closure of smaller, local stores. We expect that the use of delivery drones will improve the distribution in rural areas.”
He continued, “From a socio-economic perspective, this type of delivery is especially beneficial to citizens with limited mobility, such as the elderly or those without their own cars.” Adding, “In addition, the alternative transport option can result in economic and environmental benefits for the partners involved.”
For economic reasons, regional retailers especially in rural areas, are often unable to offer their own transport service. Delivery by Wingcopter drones enables retailers to significantly expand their customer catchment area, as the range, speed and payload capabilities of the craft used enable fast deliveries.
Deploying battery-powered Wingcopters and electric cargo bikes also enables emission-free delivery, bringing significant environmental benefits compared to road-based transport.
Selina Herzog, Head of Service Solution Design and Planning at Wingcopter, remarked, “We are convinced that Drone Delivery as a Service offerings have a real benefit for many people in rural areas of Germany. This is clearly the case with our medical delivery projects in Africa and other parts of the world.”
The project is the first of its kind in Germany and is part of the “Innovative Air Mobility” funding program. It is scheduled to run for 12 months.
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