Wingcopter, the German company with an innovative eVTOL aircraft, has joined the Flying Labs network as a technology partner. As it states in a news release, “The goal of the partnership is to improve supply chains through locally led cargo drone projects and to equip local talent with the skills to operate Wingcopter’s unmanned systems in long range drone applications, including beyond visual line of sight.” Let’s find out more.
We all know that drones can do a lot of things. But we’re particularly fond of applications that fall under the #DroneForGood hashtag. That means drones carrying out work that tangibly helps people. This is the kind of work that really turns the crank of the Flying Labs network. These independent knowledge hubs exist in Africa, Asia, Latin America – some 30 countries in all. Those involved with running these hubs include entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and researchers devoted to using data and robotics to contribute to positive change and Sustainable Development.
And now, Wingcopter is joining forces with this network.
We’ve seen the Wingcopter drone up close, and it’s a really smart drone design. It uses four motors, two forward and two rear, to lift the fixed-wing craft during VTOL mode. But when it’s time to transition to forward flight, there’s a rigid mechanical link between those forward and aft motors.
As a result, these motors tilt at precisely the same rate, each and every time. This mechanical linkage is also a more reliable system than, say, relying on four different servos.
We’ve met with people who use this drone, including applications in Canada’s high north. It’s considered reliable, very airworthy, and carries a decent payload.
The Flying Labs Network gets a lot of requests for assistance with drone deliveries. The design and carrying capacity of the Wingcopter, says the release, makes it an ideal fit:
With its extremely efficient cargo drone design and proven track record of reducing turnaround time to access vital supplies from days or hours to minutes, Wingcopter offers local Flying Labs a state-of-the-art technology for the delivery of urgently needed medical goods in hard-to-reach areas – an asset that is of even greater importance during a pandemic. A recent survey by WeRobotics, the NGO behind the Flying Labs Network, found that almost 90% of Flying Labs see a demand for delivery drone services in their countries.
The partnership means Flying Labs will be able to tap into Wingcopter’s delivery expertise. It also means those in Flying Labs will be able to buy Wingcopter drones at a discounted price. WeRobotics, a nonprofit based in Switzerland and the US, will provide additional support on the ground.
The partnership with the Flying Labs Network fits perfectly in our vision to create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to improve and save lives everywhere. It is impressive what the Flying Labs have built up, with support from the WeRobotics team, cultivating local skills and capacities through access to new technologies, education, and job opportunities. I truly believe that to strengthen supply chains with drones it requires an active and supportive ecosystem that knows and involves their local communities. Together, we can establish a drone service for developing countries that allows its citizens to take the lead in building out this new industry and directly benefit from it.
Andi Fisanich, head of humanitarian programs, Wingcopter
We’re very pleased to welcome Wingcopter to the Flying Labs Network given their strong commitment to local leadership. This commitment explains why several Flying Labs have already reached out to Wingcopter (and vice versa) to explore collaboration opportunities. We look forward to seeing Flying Labs engage in public health projects by leading the operation of Wingcopter drones in their own countries.
Dr. Patrick Meier, cofounder and executive director of WeRobotics
A perfect fit
Wingcopter has already been involved with drone delivery in Malawi, and with training programs with the African Drone and Data Academy. It’s also been involved with medical and vaccine deliveries in several other countries.
The company recently raised $22 million in Series A funding.