Hesse-based unmanned eVTOL fixed-wing aircraft maker Wingcopter has received a €40 million “quasi-equity” investment via the EIB in order to ramp up production of its flagship flyer, the Wingcopter 198 as it carries on with global expansion and further innovation plans.
Founded in 2017, Wingcopter is on record as having now raised $110 million over 9 funding rounds via backers including the EIB, Futury Capital, Rewe Group, Xplorer Capital, XAI Technologies, Salvia, Itochu Corporation, Synerjets, and Uber co-founder Garrett Camp’s investment arm Expa, however, it should be noted that not all round values have been disclosed, therefore it’s most likely that the firm has raised well north of $110 million.
In contrast to Munich’s maker of eVTOL aircraft, Lilium, who’s been having a rough time as of late, instead of focusing on the ferrying of people to and fro, Wingcopter is moving cargo, specifically to remote areas.
Somewhat similar to Zipline’s PoC success in delivering vital medicines to doctors in remote areas of Rwanda and Ghana, Wingcopter is proving its worth in Malawi, delivering goods including medicines and medical supplies to doctors as part of a joint project operated by UNICEF and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
However, Zipline’s solutions require, albeit minuscule in size, a takeoff and landing (capture) apparatus and can carry only up to 1.75 kg, Wingcopter’s solution operates like a helicopter at takeoff and landing, and then converts to a more airplane-like form of propulsion once underway, can carry up to 5 kg, and has provisions for up to three different parcels to be carried and dropped.
When it comes to Europe, while drone delivery services are already in operation, see Manna, or better yet, join us in Brussels on the 24th of May to hear directly from Manna CEO Bobby Healy, this summer will see the debut of Wingcopter 198 over German skies. A pilot, or rather, unpiloted as the case may be, project is set to commence this summer in southern Hesse, and will test the potential benefits, and presumably detriments, of on-demand transport of groceries and other consumer goods.
“Our goal is also to improve lives by creating many jobs in R&D and manufacturing at our headquarters in Europe, as well as in the countries where we provide services, where we train and qualify local young people to operate our drone delivery networks,” commented Wingcotper co-founder and CEO Tom Plümmer. “It requires strong partners like the EIB to build reliable, efficient and safe delivery drone technology and logistics services.”