Volansi, a US-based company that develops and deploys autonomous Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) drone systems, has some news: It has secured permission to fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) in the western African nation of Senegal.
When it comes to deliveries in remote locations, VTOLs are quickly becoming the drones of choice. Their ability to take off and land vertically means there’s no need for runways, pneumatic launchers, or cumbersome capture devices. There’s also no question that drones are proving exceedingly useful in Africa, where medical drone delivery pioneer Zipline has established an outstanding track record in Rwanda and Ghana.
Now, there’s news from Volansi, which recently closed a $50 million Series B round.
Volansi is expanding. And a big part of its vision is to accelerate the adoption of drone delivery in both the US and emerging markets elsewhere. Already, it’s involved with medical deliveries in North Carolina and last fall announced a new facility in Oregon. So it’s on the move.
And now, there’s news from Africa. Today, the company announced it has received BVLOS approval for flights in Senegal. It’s the first company to receive this approval in that country.
Volansi is the only cargo drone operator in Senegal that has BVLOS approval to fly unmanned operations country-wide. This capability has enabled the company to build sky lanes or aerial delivery routes, for its mining customers in West Africa. In the near future, they plan to expand the network and become the first interconnected delivery drone network of sky lanes across the continent connecting mission points over rivers, bridges, and hills enabling reliable and quick deliveries via drone.
The need for speed
Currently, ground deliveries take place using cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Volansi says a typical delivery that would take 2-1/2 hours or more on the ground can be carried out in 30 minutes using its VTOL drones. Volansi says its method saves not only time but money, reducing downtime and getting critical supplies to destinations as quickly as possible.
“Our mission at Volansi is to build a world unbound by the limitations of infrastructure, and with sky lanes, it’s totally possible,” says Volansi CEO and cofounder Hannan Parvizian. “This will have a massive impact on Africa’s economy, offering limitless development, and accessibility will increase by more than 100%, creating more than a million jobs in the region.”
A million jobs seems like, well, a pretty high estimate. But Parvizian is confident that drones will be a game-changer in Africa.
We see this as a huge opportunity in Africa. We are going to revolutionize how people think about access and reach within the continent. Just as Africa skipped landline development and took a giant leap to cell phones, I believe that it will jump right into VTOL. It’s going to happen fast, and Volansi is geared up to build the first interconnected delivery drone network within the continent.
Hannan Parvizian, Volansi CEO/cofounder
You can learn more about Volansi here.
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