ITS 2021

World premiere of Volocopter cargo drone in Hamburg

13 October 2021
Volocopter and DB Schenker demonstrate how electric utility drone can be integrated into logistics chain at ITS

Air cab pioneer Volocopter flew its 10 metre-wide, two metre-high, 600 kgs Volodrone or cargo UAV with 18 rotors in skies over the Homeport real-life laboratory in the Port of Hamburg as part of the ITS World Congress 2021. The first public test flight on Tuesday (October 12, 2021), lasted around three minutes and took place in co-operation DB Schenker, a global logistics service provider. The company based in Baden-Württemberg used an end-to-end freight demonstration to show how the UAV can be integrated into logistics supply chains.

Volocopter's presents innovative cargo drone 

The UAV took off shortly after 3:00 p.m. and reached a maximum altitude of 22 metres. The drone was equipped with a loading box (see photo) with a cargo the size of a Euro-pallet. After a smooth take-off, the unmanned electric payload drone transported the cargo to a DB Schenker cargo bike and landed there. The shipment was then transferred to the bike to complete the multimodal and all-electric "last mile" delivery. 

The cargo drone should "make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient and sustainable", according to Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. The flight demonstrated how drones can expand existing logistics infrastructure for land or sea transport, thereby creating new supply chains and transport routes, the partners said.

Commercial operations and cargo

During commercial operations, the heavy-lift drone can transport up to 200 kgs to a distance of up to 40 kmh, according to Volocopter. The aircraft, which is designed to transport Euro-pallets, will be operated autonomously in future, i.e., beyond the pilot's visual line of sight, but which in Germany is subject to a special permit at present.


Sources and further information

ITS World Congress Hamburg 2021

The leading ITS World Congress on intelligent transport is underway in Hamburg under the theme of "Experience Future Mobility Now" until Friday (October 15, 2021). The Hanseatic city and its partners are presenting the latest trends in digitalisation, mobility and logistics. Emphasis is on networked transport and smart logistics of the future. Visitors can glimpse the future on the free public day on October 14, 2021. Those interested must have registered earlier. The city has earmarked 42 out of 200 ITS projects as anchors that are particularly important for achieving its objectives. These so-called anchor projects include the Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation (HEAT) autonomous shuttle bus  and the cycle traffic counting network with thermal imaging cameras. The ITS World Congress is part of the strategy adopted by the senate in 2016 through 2030. 

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