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.

For more infor­ma­tion

(Pics: Wing­copter)