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Wingcopter, a German developer of commercial drones founded in 2017, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Wingcopter will use the funding to scale its presence in the drone delivery space, with a special focus on healthcare-related applications.
The Wingcopter 178 Heavy Lift drone can cover distances up to 120 kilometers (74.5 miles) and offers a maximum payload of 6 kg (13.2 lbs). With a maximum payload, the drone can cover a distance up to 40 kilometers (24.8 miles). It uses patented tilt-rotor propellant mechanism that combines vertical take-off and landing with fixed-wing aircraft.
In addition to selling hardware, Wingcopter offers drone delivery as a service. Customers can capitalize on Wingcopter’s capabilities without having to own and maintain a fleet of drones, hire and train pilots, or run operations themselves. Wingcopter’s drones can also be used for other applications, including surveying and inspection.
“This chapter of our journey is dedicated to setting up logistical highways in the sky that leapfrog traditional means of transportation,” said Tom Plümmer, CEO, Wingcopter. “Poor infrastructure has always been a barrier, especially for healthcare provision, impacting billions of lives – a situation further exacerbated by COVID-19.”
Wingcopter recently started a long-term COVID-19 response project named in southeastern Africa to improve healthcare supply chains together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. As part of the project, Wingcopter partnered with UNICEF’S African Drone and Data Academy to train local youth in drone operations.
The financing round was led by Xplorer Capital and Futury Regio Growth Fund. Futury Ventures and Hessen Kapital III also participated in Wingcopter’s financing round.
Wingcopter also plans to expand into the U.S. with a new production facility. It said this will help with production, but also flight testing operations in accordance with the FAA.
American Robotics recently became the first drone company approved by the FAA to operate automated drones without human operators on site. American Robotics CEO and co-founder Reese Mozer joined The Robot Report Podcast last week to discuss this landmark approval. He discussed how these flights are vastly different from previous BVLOS flights approved by the FAA and the implications for the company and the commercial drone industry. He also described the technical capabilities of the company’s drones, how humans will remain in the loop, what types of missions its drones will now carry out, and how the company landed in Boston. You can listen to the podcast below.