The logistics heavyweight DB Schenker and the drone manager Volocopter have, in close coordination, successfully conducted a joint static proof of concept for the use of VoloDrones in
logistics centers. The aim of the action was to test how logistics operators can manage personnel, payloads, automated ground vehicles, and unmanned aerial vehicles to create an efficient process
and a safe environment for future VoloDrone operations.
At the same time, DB Schenker was honored by Lufthansa Cargo for its high tonnage contribution in the pandemic and the joint launch of SAF flights.
Eco-friendly means of transportation
The test results of the VoloDrone were apparently in line with the expectations of both companies. They serve as a blueprint for integrating the electrically powered UAV in DB Schenker’s logistics network across the globe, the company stated, reaching the next level in making supply chains more sustainable and automating transport processes at the same time.
The VoloDrone, Volocopter’s heavy-lift and versatile cargo drone, is battery powered and able to transport payloads of up to 200 kg beyond the visual line of sight over distances of 40 km. The aerial vehicle is equipped with 18 (sic!) rotors powering its electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL). The Urban Air Mobility (UAM) offers the potential to create a faster, cleaner, safer, and more integrated transportation system. It is paramount for conducting intracity flights linking future drone ports (Volo Ports) within populated areas, or connecting them with remote places (CargoForwarder - 27JUN21).
New transport solutions are needed, serving highly populated areas
Over 50% of the world's more than 8 billion people live in urban regions - and the trend is rising. In the EU block of 27, the proportion of urban dwellers is particularly high, reaching 78% (source: Statista 2019). It is expected to grow to as much as 87% by 2050. This poses major challenges in terms of traffic and emissions. To ensure that cities remain livable, alternatives to current transportation concepts are needed, such as drones, for instance. This is emphasized by Christian Bauer, CCO of Volocopter: “By developing a blueprint for VoloDrone operations, Volocopter is leading the way into the next dimension of transport logistics, with tangible and operational data backing our service claims.”
Erik Wirsing, Global Head of Innovation at DB Schenker, presents a similar argument: “The VoloDrone unlocks new possibilities for the logistics industry, and it represents a key element for DB Schenker’s innovation and sustainability roadmap for logistics. Volocopter’s leadership in this emerging urban air mobility industry is most evident in their practical solutions, their customer-centric approach, and their commitment to bring UAM to life.”
Lufthansa Cargo honors the performance of its global partner, DB Schenker
In addition to VoloDrone’s successful proof of concept test, DB Schenker announced another joyful fact: it was recently honored by Lufthansa Cargo, and presented with the Excellent Award for the second time in a row. Despite the pandemic-related capacity crunch, the tonnage flown on behalf of DB Schenker had increased significantly, including the sale of express services, the carrier’s management applauded.
Dorothea von Boxberg, chairperson of the executive board of Lufthansa Cargo, emphasized: “It is very rare for our top customers to succeed in defending this title. DB Schenker achieved that impressively over the past year. On the one hand, with significant commercial growth. On the other, with the world's first CO2-neutral freighter flight, with which we jointly anchored the topic of sustainability in our industry in a groundbreaking way. We would like to express our special thanks for this important commitment.”
The award was received by Thorsten Meincke, Chief Operating Officer Air and Ocean at DB Schenker AG, at a digitally broadcast ceremony. “We are delighted to continue shaping our industry sustainably in the future together with Lufthansa Cargo,” Meincke said. “We thank Lufthansa Cargo for the repeated recognition and the excellent cooperation over the past year, which once again sets standards for our customers as well.”
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