Volocopter GmbH was founded in 2011 in Karlsruhe, Germany, by Alexander Zosel and Stephen Wolf with the intent of making an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) multicopter aircraft for fast and efficient urban travel. On Oct. 21, 2011, the company made history by making the first crewed flight in the world of a multicopter, named the VC1. The multicopter was flown in southwest Germany by co-founder, primary designer, inventor and builder, Thomas Senkel. The Guinness Book of World Records has the historic flight listed on their website. The company was originally known as "e-volo GmbH" until being renamed to "Volocopter GmbH" in July 2017 and the company is now based in Bruchsal, Germany.
To meet the needs of a lower cost drone with a good lifting capability 200 Kg (442 lb), Volocopter began the VoloDrone project in 2018. This uncrewed electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) drone may be remotely piloted or fly in pre-set routes for agricultural or cargo missions.
The drone uses standardized rail attachment system, commonly applied in aerospace and logistics and can accommodate a wide variety of payloads.
- Agriculture: The drone will have the capability of carrying sprayer equipment for plant protection, seed sowing, forest management, frost control and more. The drone can cover 6 hectare/hour (One hectare is 10,000 square meters) and due to GPS control, a more selective area treatment can be achieved.
- Construction: The drone will be able to carry supplies to tops of buildings, remote areas, utilities, infrastructure jobs and other job sites which need aerial transportation using boxes, customized boxes and sling loads.
- Logistics: The drone can take premade boxes by Volocopter or take custom made boxes, for delivering a time sensitive cargo such as spare parts, medical suppliers, human organs or most any type of cargo. Anywhere that ground transportation is difficult or time consuming, air delivery by drone can solve this problem.
- Public Services: The VoloDrone can provide provide disaster relief, air rescue, or support for humanitarian aid.
The VoloDrone demonstrator performed its first flight in October 2019 and is now testing in real-life applications with lead customers. The company states the commercial product will be available soon.
For more information on Volocopter's other production aircraft, please see the following aircraft.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL cargo drone
- Piloting: Remote controlled or fly preset routes
- Cruise speed: 80 km/h (50 mph)
- Maximum speed: 110 km/h (68 mph)
- Range: 40 km (25 miles)
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Payload: 200 kg (441 lb)
- Maximum take-off mass (MTOM): 800 kg (1,764 lb)
- Payload capabilities: Box, sling, sprayer, spreader, customized gear
- Propellers: 18
- Electric Motors: 18
- Electric motor type: Brushless DC electric motor
- Power supply: Battery packs
- Batteries: Lithium-ion exchangeable batteries
- Battery change out time: Less than 5 minutes
- Diameter: 9.2 m (30 ft)
- Height: 2.3 m (7.5 ft)
- Aircraft fuselage and components: Composite, aluminum, 3D printed nylon
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), having multiple propellers and motors provides safety through redundancy for the drone and its cargo. If one (1), two (2) or more motors and/or propellers fail, the other working propellers can safely land the aircraft.
- Volocopter website
- Volocopter Facebook
- Volocopter Twitter
- Volocopter YouTube
- Volocopter Wikipedia
- Article: Volocopter introduces VoloDrone for logistics use, Volocopter, Oct. 30, 2019
- Article: Volocopter expands into utility drone business with heavy-lift VoloDrone, Volocopter, Oct. 30, 2019
- Video: VoloDrone heavy-lift utility drone demonstrator takes off, Volocopter, Oct. 30, 2019
- Article: Heavy-lift utility drone for agriculture, Volocopter, Nov. 7, 2019
- Article: Volocopter’s VoloDrone, eVTOL News, Jan. 6, 2020
- Article: DB Schenker invests as Volocopter extends Series C Round to € 87 million, Volocopter, Feb. 21, 2020