Wingcopter announces world’s first triple-drop delivery drone
Wingcopter, the German developer, manufacturer and service-provider of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for commercial and humanitarian applications, introduced its new drone generation today, the Wingcopter 198. The Wingcopter 198 is an all-electric, vertical-take-off-and-landing (eVTOL), fixed-wing drone that has been designed from the ground up to meet aviation safety and reliability requirements. The new delivery system leverages Wingcopter’s broad experience in aviation innovation and establishes a new industry standard in drone technology and drone-based logistics.
“The Wingcopter 198 is a game-changer for drone-based deliveries, ready to create logistical highways in the sky. It can be perfectly utilized as a fleet solution in delivery networks to create new opportunities, everywhere”, said Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter.
The Wingcopter 198 builds on the following core product features:
- High Performance: Based on Wingcopter’s patented tilt-rotor technology, the Wingcopter 198 takes off and lands vertically anywhere without the need for additional infrastructure and smoothly transitions into quiet and enduring forward flight. It can carry payloads of 6 kilograms (13 pounds) on one battery charge over 75 kilometers (47 miles), or up to 110 kilometers (68 miles) with less payload, even in challenging weather conditions. This makes the Wingcopter 198 the optimal solution for any delivery fleet addressing the middle or last-mile gap, especially in rural areas or hard-to-reach places such as islands, mountainous areas or offshore platforms and ships. The aircraft’s top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) enables on-demand express deliveries.
- Efficiency: The unique triple-drop mechanism allows for separate and precise winch-delivery of up to three packages to multiple destinations per flight. Alternatively, the Wingcopter 198 can deliver two medium-sized packages or one large package providing maximum flexibility in size and shape. The entire delivery process is fully automatic. In addition, one operator can control a fleet of up to 10 Wingcopter 198s simultaneously anywhere in the world via new control station software. Moreover, the Wingcopter 198 is equipped with advanced maintenance technology to avoid unplanned downtimes, improve parts reliability, and lower maintenance costs.
- Safety: The Wingcopter 198 is a delivery drone designed and developed according to aviation safety standards and currently undergoing FAA type certification in the USA. Thanks to the redundant system architecture which includes eight instead of four motors, the Wingcopter 198 provides an extremely high degree of reliability and safety. All other essential components such as the flight controller, airspeed sensor or battery are also redundantly integrated. The main communication link to the operator is LTE/5G, backed up by satellite. Specially developed detect-and-avoid software combining ADS-B, Flarm, Remote ID and visual artificial intelligence interprets the flight environment in real-time and automatically initiates evasive maneuvers, as required. Downward-looking cameras use AI-based optical sensing for accurate and safe parcel dropping as well as precision landing in combination with obstacle avoidance.
- Ease of use: The Wingcopter 198 software and interface design were developed with a clear focus on making the user’s workflow as simple and efficient as possible. It allows for fully autonomous, beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flights and automated deliveries. The smart batteries can be swapped within seconds to maximize time in the air. The Wingcopter Cloud allows for mission planning to be independent of the operation by using different control stations. APIs enable a seamless integration of fleet information into customer software solutions.
This unique combination of software, hardware and operability makes the Wingcopter 198 the ideal platform for drone-based delivery of a broad selection of goods, from medical supplies to consumer goods, spare parts and tools, as well as groceries or freshly prepared food.
Jonathan Hesselbarth, CTO of Wingcopter, comments, “We applied the many years of experience with the Wingcopter 178, the model that literally enabled us to take off as a company, and applied it to the development of the Wingcopter 198, optimizing every design aspect for ease of use, efficiency and safety. The result is what we believe to be the most advanced, versatile and efficient delivery drone solution in its category.”
Serial production according to the European aerospace quality management standard EN9100 at Wingcopter’s German headquarters will start shortly to meet the predicted global demand. For early access, the first 100 units of the Wingcopter 198 can be reserved here as of today.
Wingcopter has also set up an Authorized Partner Program to qualify, certify and enable partners such as drone-as-a-service providers, distributors and dealers to operate, promote, distribute and support Wingcopter technology worldwide. Interested parties can now apply to join the program.