Rapid response from the air: medicines successfully delivered using a parcel drone in East Africa
Darmstadt/Eschborn/Bonn, 4 October 2018: Revolutionising the delivery of medicines to remote areas using drones – the pilot project Deliver Future proves that it”s not science fiction. Three experts in their respective fields are making it happen: The German drone manufacturer Wingcopter, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and DHL. Over a six-month period, they successfully tested the delivery of medicines using a drone to an island in Lake Victoria. During the trials, the autonomous DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 completed the 60 km flight from the mainland to the island in 40 minutes on average. A total of 2,200 km were flown and roughly 2,000 flight minutes recorded during the pilot project. The drone thus opens up new opportunities to adress the logistic challenges in the public health sector in many parts of Africa, especially supplying hospitals and pharmacies. Medical care for the roughly 400,000 residents of the Ukerewe island district of Lake Victoria, for instance, is severely limited. This is partly due to the poor infrastructure and difficult terrain. Six hours are needed to cover the overland route of 240 km. That makes it nearly impossible to provide emergency medication or to quickly refill cool chain commodities that are out of stock. A key feature is that the DHL Parcelcopter 4.0 barely needs any infrastructure as it takes off and lands vertically. After delivering its cargo, it can easily be loaded with blood and laboratory samples to take back to the mainland. In future, the Parcelcopter could therefore not only improve logistics in the public health sector: it has the potential to help prevent crises worldwide, for example allowing an early response to slow the spread of viral diseases like Ebola.
Short film about the Deliver Future pilot project. Find press photos and logo files here.
Wingcopter is an award-winning German manufacturer of innovative drones for logistics, surveying, monitoring and inspection. In order to achieve a new dimension of efficiency and close the market gap between commercial drones, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, the startup has specially developed and patented a unique tilting rotor mechanism. This combines the advantages of two drone types in one: The electrically powered Wingcopter drones can take off and land vertically like multicopters in a minimum of space. For efficient forward flight, the rotors can be tilted and the drone transforms into an unmanned fixed-wing aircraft in seconds. This enables long ranges of up to 100 km and a Guinness World Record top speed of 240 km/h. The Wingcopter flies autonomously and reliably even in strong winds or heavy rain. In addition to the transport boxes filled with goods or medical commodities, a variety of sensors such as full format cameras or precise laser measuring devices can easily be attached. These sensors are utilized in applications like infrastructure monitoring of pipelines, power lines or railway lines, for search and rescue missions or disaster control, as well as for mapping of huge landscapes and optimizing precision agriculture and geological research. Already today, Wingcopter is shaping the future of aviation and is dedicated to improving the lives of people worldwide by enabling meaningful civil applications.