While many industry observers see regulatory approval as hurdle for commercial drone delivery, technological and business challenges also need to be solved at scale. Volansi Inc. today announced the opening of a new facility in the Bend, Ore., area to support its delivery drone development, testing, and production.
The Concord, Calif.-based company has developed vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), middle-mile drone-delivery services. Volansi also said it provides on-demand aerial delivery services for time-critical shipments over long ranges. The company, which also has a location in Arizona, serves oil and gas, mining, defense, and medical applications, and it has ongoing operations in Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S.
In September, Volansi raised $50 million in Series B funding, which it plans to use to expand its team and facilities, launch new projects, and scale current initiatives in emerging markets and the U.S. Last month, Volansi piloted the delivery of Merck medications in rural North Carolina.
Volansi develops delivery drone capabilities
Volansi develops, manufactures, and operates its own unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including the VOLY C10 and VOLY M20 autonomous drones. The VOLY C10, the workhorse of Volansi’s UAV fleet, carries up to 10 lb. of cargo over 50 mi. The company’s ongoing delivery drone project in North Carolina demonstrates the VOLY C10’s hybrid eVTOL fixed-wing flight system, making it one of the only drone delivery services capable of transporting fragile, temperature-controlled vaccines.
The VOLY M20 is a dual-role aircraft with the ability to simultaneously carry up to 20 lb. of cargo, in addition to 10 lb. of sensor payloads. It has a 350-mi. range, a cruising speed of 75 mph, and more than eight hours of endurance for sensor operations, said Volansi.
Bend offers access to talent
The local talent pool was a major reason for Volansi to expand its delivery drone operations in Bend, Ore., according to executives.
“We have always applied a rapid, iterative approach more commonly used in robotics design or software development when innovating with our technology,” stated Hannan Parvizian, co-founder and CEO of Volansi. “With deep industrial roots, a rich talent pool, and mostly year-round good weather, the fast-growing Bend metro area was the obvious choice for co-locating the development, production, and testing of our aviation technology. We look forward to joining the community and making the Bend area our second home.”
“Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest provide amazing access to great talent, a plethora of supply chain options, and an excellent operating environment,” said Mike Jackson, vice president of global operations at Volansi. “We feel the area is very well positioned to support both our growth potential and our pending production requirements.”