It’s cleverly designed with eight propellers mounted on arms that extend forward and aft from the wing. The four propellers on the outboard can only lift off – for VTOL purposes, and additionally lock themselves into an aerodynamic configuration while cruising. The first two propellers on the inside can be tilted forward 90 degrees to provide horizontal thrust, and the rear two propellers on the inside are also tilted – but mainly to fold their propellers back to avoid the airflow of the first two propellers.
It can cruise at speeds of up to 144 km/h in a wide range of weather conditions and has a range of up to 110 km. If there are multiple shipments to be delivered, it can carry up to three packages per flight, hover and lower them to the ground at the drop point. They are designed to operate completely autonomously, or by an operator with Wingcopter’s Control Station software. The operator is understood to monitor or fly up to 10 drones simultaneously.
Wingcopter recently raised around $42 million in its latest funding round and brings its total raised to over $60 million, while its new deal with Africa’s Continental Drones will see Wingcopter’s vast fleet of drones spread across the continent of 49 sub-Saharan countries.
These businesses are of extraordinary significance in Africa because insufficient infrastructure is an obstacle not only to economic development but also to issues such as healthcare. The drone fleet will rapidly deliver goods, medicines, laboratory samples and vaccines to remote areas with zero emissions.
Continental Drones founder Alexander Asiedu said in a press release: “Together with Wingcopter, we are committed to accelerating Africa’s development and economic integration by building a drone-based delivery network across the continent. With our long-term local presence Business experience and Wingcopter’s best-in-class drone technology, these networks present a real opportunity to drive economies and help improve the lives of millions. African countries are implementing this cutting-edge technology for the benefit of their people and future generations to show true leadership.”