Wingcopter to deploy 12,000 drones in African delivery network

Wingcopter drone delivery African

German delivery drone specialist Wingcopter has formed a partnership with an African UAV services company in an effort to create what is being called the world’s largest commercial and medical aerial logistics network, ultimately aiming to cover 49 nations on the continent.

Wingcopter revealed the project Thursday, saying it is partnering with Continental Drones to deploy what is eventually expected to be 12,000 Wingcopter 198 delivery drones across the vast African continent. The time frame for building that goods and medical transport network is five years, and will rely entirely on Wingcopter fixed wing UAVs that can carry up to 13 lbs. of payload in up to three different, winch-lowered packages over maximum distances of 68 miles.

The delivery network will be overseen by Continental Drones – the subsidiary of Ghana- and Dubai-based based Atlantic Trust Holding – in its new role as a Wingcopter authorized partner. The objective is to rapidly set up and begin operating faster, cheaper, sustainable, and more efficient UAV logistics and transport services than ground-based options can. 

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But not only is that effort seeking to provide quicker and improved delivery services using drones than conventional transport. It’s also hoping to use UAVs to pull off a similar magic that smartphones have worked over the past decade in igniting booming e-commerce business among millions of African consumers who previously had no access to computers or internet accounts.

In other words, just as the advent of phone purchases allowed African consumers to leap-frog PCs and landline connections to order goods – fueling Africa’s e-commerce activity into a major economic driver in the process – the Wingcopter-Continental venture seeks to enable fast distribution of goods purchased by customers who currently have limited or no car, truck, or rail delivery infrastructure serving them. 

“Together with Wingcopter, we are committed to accelerate the development and economic integration of Africa by enabling the creation of drone-based delivery networks across the continent,” said Continental Drones founder Alexander Asiedu. “With our longstanding business experience on the ground and Wingcopter’s best-in-class drone technology, these networks offer a real chance to fuel economic development and help improve the livelihood of millions. African nations show true leadership by implementing this cutting-edge technology for the better of their people and generations to come.”

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Along with those commercial objectives, the venture will also seek to use thousands of Wingcopter drones to provide fast and relatively cheap deliveries of medical supplies across Africa much the way specialists like Zipline and Swoop Aero have. In doing so, the network is intended to support efforts of national governments to provide wider access to health care by taking supplies – swiftly and regularly flown in by UAV – to remote communities or those or underserved due to transportation problems.

“We are convinced that our cooperation with Alex and his Continental Drones team will unlock the African drone delivery market on a large scale, allowing us to jointly improve and save millions of lives,” said Wingcopter CEO Thom Plümmer.

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