In a first foray of Wingcopter in Japan, the German drone manufacturer and service provider has partnered with All Nippon Airways (ANA Holdings Inc, ANA HD) to trial drone delivery to the island communities of Japan.
This is the latest big news from Wingcopter, which has risen rapidly in the drone delivery domain. Earlier this year, the company announced a $22 million funding round: last year, Wingcopter scored critical partnerships with UPS and Merck.
Now, this new partnership is building a drone delivery network using aircraft by Wingcopter in Japan. “ANA HD is providing insights gained from decades of aviation experience that is helping Wingcopter, in full compliance with local aviation regulations, succeed in the unique flight conditions of Japan,” says a joint press release. “Wingcopter is providing support in terms of training of pilots, mission planning, operation design as well as maintenance.”
“The ongoing tests of Wingcopter aircraft represent a significant step forward in the creation of a viable drone transportation network,” said Tetsuya Kubo, Vice President of ANA HD overseeing the Digital Design Lab. “We are excited to partner with Wingcopter as we build on the advances and innovation of previous trials to bring drone delivery one step closer to reality. Once fully realized, a functioning drone transportation infrastructure will help improve quality of life in rural areas across Japan.”
“Being able to help a global company like ANA open up new business areas and at the same time pursue our mission to save and improve lives, is what we tirelessly work for,“ adds Tom Plümmer, CEO of Wingcopter. “We are really looking forward to the next steps and the overall partnership with ANA in Japan and beyond.”
ANA HD has been working on drone transportation infrastructure since 2016, with a goal of commercial drone delivery by 2022. “The first phase of the current tests took place between March 21-26, with the supervised flight of a Wingcopter aircraft between Fukuejima and Hisakajima in Goto City, Nagasaki Prefecture,” says the release. “The flights demonstrated the viability of drone delivery for medical supplies, dramatically reducing patients’ waiting times. In this remote region of Japan, it is difficult to quickly transport medical supplies due to poor infrastructure. This has created problems for public health officials and medical professionals looking to rapidly respond in situations where time is a key factor in treatment.”
Wingcopter’s fixed-wing eVTOL aircraft is ideal in many regions: since setting a speed record in 2018, Wingcopter has only improved upon their flight endurance, also demonstrating Wingcopter resilience in strong wind or other extreme weather patterns.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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