Wingcopter, the German developer, manufacturer and operator of unmanned delivery drones for commercial and humanitarian applications has joined the Flying Labs Network as a technology partner. The goal of the partnership is to improve supply chains through locally led cargo drone projects and to equip local talent with the skills to operate Wingcopter’s unmanned systems in long-range drone applications, including beyond visual line of sight. The Flying Labs Network strengthens local expertise in the use of drones, robotics, data and AI with the aim of positive social change in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and beyond.
With its efficient cargo drone design and track record of reducing turnaround time to access vital supplies from days or hours to minutes, Wingcopter will offer local Flying Labs a state-of-the-art technology drone for the delivery of urgently needed medical goods in hard-to-reach areas. A recent survey by WeRobotics, the NGO behind the Flying Labs Network, found that almost 90 per cent of Flying Labs see a demand for delivery drone services in their countries.
The partnership allows Flying Labs around the world to directly access Wingcopter’s delivery drone expertise and to acquire Wingcopter drones at a discounted price. WeRobotics supports the Flying Labs through joint trainings and joint projects.
Wingcopter’s head of humanitarian programs Andi Fisanich said: “The partnership with the Flying Labs Network fits perfectly in our vision to create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to improve and save lives everywhere. It is impressive what the Flying Labs have built up, with support from the WeRobotics team, cultivating local skills and capacities through access to new technologies, education, and job opportunities. I truly believe that to strengthen supply chains with drones it requires an active and supportive ecosystem that knows and involves their local communities. Together, we can establish a drone service for developing countries that allows its citizens to take the lead in building out this new industry and directly benefit from it.”
Wingcopter is currently implementing a drone delivery network in Malawi to strengthen local healthcare supply chains together with UNICEF and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Within the project called Drone + Data Aid the company cooperates with the African Drone and Data Academy to train youth from across the continent in drone operations.
In other parts of the world, Wingcopter is preparing for the on-demand delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to remote areas by drone, building on experience from earlier vaccine and medical delivery projects, which took place amongst others in Vanuatu, Ireland and Tanzania. The company recently raised $22 million in Series A funding, led by Silicon Valley-based Xplorer Capital and German Futury Regio Growth Fund. In 2020, Wingcopter was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, recognising its significant social impact as part of the fourth industrial revolution.