UPS Flight Forward, Wingcopter partner to develop next-gen package delivery drones

UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) and German drone-maker Wingcopter are partnering to develop the next generation of package delivery drones for various use cases in the United States and internationally.

Wingcopter says that UPS chose it for this collaboration for two reasons: for its UAS technology, and for its track record in delivering a variety of goods over long distances in multiple international settings.

“Drone delivery is not a one-size-fits-all operation,” says Bala Ganesh, vice president of the UPS Advanced Technology Group.

“Our collaboration with Wingcopter helps pave the way for us to start drone delivery service in new use-cases. UPS Flight Forward is building a network of technology partners to broaden our unique capability to serve customers and extend our leadership in drone delivery.”

For UPSFF, this is its first new relationship with a drone manufacturer since its formation. Through the partnership, both companies will work toward earning regulatory certification for a Wingcopter UAS to make commercial delivery flights in the United States.

The companies say that the collaboration is a “critical step toward building a diverse fleet of drones with varying capabilities to meet even more potential customer needs.”

“We are proud to partner with UPS, a global giant in delivery and logistics. Together we aspire to extend the speed and reach of package delivery,” says Tom Plümmer, Wingcopter chief executive officer and co-founder.

“Our vision has always been to leverage technology to improve the lives of people around the world, and the strategic relationship with UPS will further accelerate our growth and global expansion, strengthening our role as an industry leader in drone technology.”

Equipped with the ability to take off vertically and land in tight spaces, Wingcopter’s UAS will allow UPSFF to begin developing platforms that, if approved, could potentially solve issues for a number of different industries including industrial manufacturing, hospitality and entertainment.

Wingcopter has demonstrated its capabilities in several beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights projects and for a diverse customer base across the globe that includes commercial factory-to-factory deliveries, life-saving humanitarian projects and emergency medical supply.

According to Wingcopter, the core innovation behind its electric-vertical-takeoff-and landing drones is the patented tilt-rotor mechanism, which enables a seamless transition between two drone modes: multicopter for hovering and fixed-wing for low-noise forward flight. Wingcopter’s aircrafts are aerodynamic, and operate with what the company describes as “unmet stability” even in harsh weather conditions.