Volocopter debuts giant drone powerful enough to lift 440 lb
Volocopter has spent years developing aircraft to hoist people up and over congested cities, and now it is leveraging its technology to do the same for heavy cargo. Announced today, the Volodrone is cut from the same cloth as the company's electric passenger aircraft, but sports an attachment system underneath to carry heavy loads of all shapes and sizes.
Just like the Volocopter, the Volodrone is fitted with 18 rotors and is entirely electric. But instead of featuring a cabin with seating for two passengers, the airframe is built around a body to house the swappable lithium-battery and other electronics, with a rail attachment system that allows different kinds of payloads to be hooked up to its underbody in between the landing gear.
This could be a sling or net to carry large awkward items, large containers for loads that need protecting, or even be fitted with customized equipment. In this way, the Volodrone could be fitted out to handle crop-spraying tasks, lift heavy materials on construction sites, or perhaps deliver heavy loads for logistics companies.
In all, the Volodrone has a total payload capacity of 440 lb (200 kg), and has the battery capacity to carry that weight over distances of 40 km (25 mi). The company has already completed short test flights in Germany, which can be seen in the video below. It says a commercial version will be "available soon."