The US subsidiary of the logistics company UPS, UPS Flight Foward (UPSFF), wants to develop a new generation of package delivery drones together with the German drone manufacturer Wingcopter from Darmstadt in Hesse. As announced on Monday, UPS should be developed for use in the United States and internationally. The US Federal Aviation Administration had already issued UPSFF the “Part 135 Certification” in 2019, which allows the operation of a drone airline in order to be able to deliver packages commercially, for example, by multicopter.
The decision to work with the German drone manufacturer was based on Wingcopter’s expertise in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a message from UPS. Wingcopter would have achieved international successes in delivering by drone over long distances and beyond the visual field of vision (BVLOS), including the delivery of medicines for the emergency medical care of an Irish oil rig.
A drone just in case
“Drone deliveries don’t work on a one-size-fits-all basis,” said Bala Ganesh, vice president of UPS Advanced Technology Group. “Our collaboration with Wingcopter helps us pave the way for delivery services in new areas. UPS Flight Forward is building a network of technology partners to expand our ability to provide our customers with unique service and expand our leadership in drone delivery.”
According to UPS, the partnership with Wingcopter is the first in UPSFF history with a drone manufacturer. The aim is to use cooperations to build up a broad fleet of drones that are suitable for different purposes. The wingcopter drones would allow a variety of applications. This allows Wingcopter drones to take off and land vertically, which enables take-offs and landings even in the smallest of spaces. The multicopters also have a swivel mechanism so that they can fly like a fixed-wing aircraft. The drones would operate quietly and stable even in bad weather conditions.
Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift
According to Wingcopter, the current delivery drone Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift as fixed-wing aircraft achieves a maximum speed of 240 km / h, in multicopter mode up to 50 km / h. The Wingcopter can cover distances of 120 kilometers without a payload. When used with packages weighing up to 6 kilograms, the fixed-wing drone can reach a maximum speed of 150 km / h, efficiently 100 km / h. The range decreases from 6 kg to 45 km with a payload, with 2 kg it is 100 km. The multicopter can fly up to 5000 meters and should also be able to deal with wind gusts of up to 20 m / s. The electrically operated drone with four drive units is 178 cm x 132 cm x 52 cm in size and weighs 18 kg ready to fly with a maximum payload. The aircraft can be flown manually or operated automatically.
UPSFF had already entered into a partnership with the US company Matternet in March 2019 and started its first flights with their M2 drones in October to transport medical samples from a hospital to a laboratory in North Carolina.