Wingcopter and the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) has launched the ‘Drohnen-Lastenrad-Express-Belieferung’ (Drone-Cargo Bike Express Delivery) project in Germany.
The pilot project offers residents of remote districts in Michelstadt, Hesse, the opportunity to have groceries and consumer goods delivered to their homes quickly and emission-free by a Wingcopter delivery drone and cargo bike. The drone deliveries are intended to sustainably improve local supply in the region.
Initially the districts of Rehbach and Würzberg, well outside Michelstadt, will be served. Many local retailers have closed their stores in recent years, forcing residents to drive to Michelstadt or other towns to do their shopping – in some cases well over 10km each way.
Residents can order everyday goods online and have them delivered to their homes at a specified time. The orders are flown by Wingcopter to landing points just outside the villages, from where they are transported to the customers by electric cargo bike.
Frankfurt UAS is evaluating the service from an economic and ecological perspective and is also operating the cargo bikes. It has extensive expertise in the field of last-mile logistics with cargo bikes and small electric vehicles.
The mobile communications company Vodafone provides the necessary mobile communications infrastructure so that the Wingcopter drones have a secure and stable connection to the ground station throughout the flight. The cargo bikes used are produced and provided by e-bike pioneer Riese & Müller, also based in the Odenwald region.
Based on the experiences in Michelstadt, a sustainable and scalable business model is to be developed to improve local supply in other rural regions of Germany through fast, ecologically viable and reliable delivery of everyday goods by drone.
The project will initially run until the end of 2023 and will be continued if it proves successful.
Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter, commented, “We are really proud to pilot the first drone delivery service for groceries and everyday goods in Germany. Our biggest goal is to gain experience and evaluate, together with the residents, an environmentally friendly and efficient service that creates real added value for the population in rural areas.”