Wingcopter and Frankfurt university launch on-demand delivery pilot


Germany, Bavaria, Foothills of the Alps, Toelzer Land, Aerial view of Sachsenkam

A joint project to test the potential of an on-demand service to deliver consumer goods to rural communities has been launched by Frankfurt’s University of Applied Sciences and Wingcopter.

The project DroLEx: Drohnen-Lastenrad-Express-Belieferung (Drone Cargo Bike Express Delivery) has received around €500,000 in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport.

Everyday goods will be flown by Wingcopter from a medium-sized centra to surrounding smaller villages, where they will be delivered to end customers by cargo bike. The use case is to be analysed from an economic and environmental perspective and, if successful, a scalable business model will be developed. The planned start of the first flights in the south of Hesse in Germany is in spring 2023. It is scheduled to run for 12 months.

Professor Dr. Kai-Oliver Schocke, Director of the Frankfurt UAS Research Lab for Urban Transport (ReLUT), said: “In many rural areas today, supply is severely limited due to the closure of smaller, local stores.”

“We expect that the use of delivery drones will improve the local supply in rural areas again. From a socioeconomic perspective, this type of delivery is especially beneficial to citizens with limited mobility, such as the elderly or those without their own cars. In addition, the alternative transport option can result in economic and environmental benefits for the partners involved,” he added.

Selina Herzog, head of Service Solution Design and Planning, Wingcopter said drone delivery solutions will be successful where they serve a real need.

“This is clearly the case with our medical delivery projects in Africa and other parts of the world. However, we are convinced that ‘Drone Delivery as a Service’ offerings also have a real benefit for many people in rural areas of Germany. We are pleased to now be able to evaluate this use case over a longer period of time,” said Herzog.