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Volocopter’s electric heavy-lift VoloDrone completed its first public flight today at the ITS World Congress tradeshow in Hamburg.

The VoloDrone has been in the works for some time but today it completed a 3-minute test flight and reached a maximum altitude of 22 metres whilst carrying a Euro-pallet sized payload between its landing gear. 

The VoloDrone, which has some 19 propellers and has no pilot, was quick to take off once its payload was secured. The landing, however, took slightly longer but was far from bumpy.

You can watch the flight in its entirety here.

“This first public VoloDrone flight is a strong sign for Volocopter´s leading position in the UAM industry,” says Florian Reuter, Volocopter’s CEO.

“We are the only UAM company offering solutions for passengers and goods that are flying fully scaled and publicly around the world. Our VoloDrone will make existing logistics processes more robust, efficient, and sustainable.”

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The VoloDrone has been conducted test flights since 2019 but this was the first time anyone outside of Volocopter was able to see it in action. 

The uncrewed, fully electric drone is designed to carry any of the six International Organization for Standardization (ISO) pallet sizes, weighing up to 200 kilograms, over a 40-kilometre range. 

Volocopter hasn’t been going it alone developing its drone, however. Logistics giant DB Schenker has been an investor in the company since early 2020.

“With the VoloDrone flight today, we were able to publicly demonstrate our successful collaboration and the impressive progress on DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for cleaner logistics. Volocopter has proven again that they are the ideal partner for DB Schenker’s ambition to rethink global supply chains and bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers while saving emissions,” says Erik Wirsing, VP Global Innovation at DB Schenker.

Standing at 9.15 metres wide and 2.15 metres tall, the VoloDrone cuts a slightly imposing figure. It’s pretty loud too, thanks to all those tiny propellers. 

However, don’t expect to see (or hear) the VoloDrone flying overhead until at least 2023, as Volocopter is set to build VoloPorts and digital VoloIQ infrastructure to support the drones. 

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