Urban air mobility (UAM) company Volocopter and international logistics organisation DB Schenker have successfully conducted a joint static proof of concept at Messe Stuttgart for VoloDrone ground operations in logistic centres. Together, the partners are creating the first blueprint for electric cargo drone ground operations in logistics with the support of Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics.
The static POC tested how logistics operators can manage personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles, and VoloDrones to create an efficient process and a safe environment for future VoloDrone operations. The blueprint derived from these results will be the first of its kind and serve as a basis for integrating VoloDrone operations in logistics networks across the globe, realising automation and sustainability ambitions in supply chains.
“By developing a blueprint for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is leading the way into the next dimension of transport logistics with tangible and operational data backing our service claims,” commented Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter. “Our work with DB Schenker shows that they are a great investor, a valuable partner, and an enabler for our commercial VoloDrone operations.”
The research teams from Volocopter, DB Schenker, and Fraunhofer IML simulated the VoloDrone integration in a logistics network by examining the ground processes for coding goods, assessing safe cargo loads and goods, testing the automated supply of the drone through autonomous vehicles, and identifying other necessary pre-flight cargo checks. Following this, the processes for transporting and loading the VoloDrone payload were conducted and examined to identify safe, standard procedures for employees on the ground preparing the VoloDrone for flight.
“The VoloDrone unlocks new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key element for DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics,” added Erik Wirsing, Global Head of Innovation at DB Schenker. “Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is most evident in their practical solutions, their customer-centric approach, and their commitment to bring UAM to life.”