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UPS Flight Forward, a subsidiary of the logistics company, has partnered up with Wingcopter, a German drone-making startup to create a fleet of multipurpose delivery drones in the U.S. and globally.
UPS selected Wingcopter as its partner given the company's impressive unmanned aircraft technology and great track record of delivering goods over long distances to remote places.
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Not a one-size-fits-all scenario
"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," said Bala Ganesh, vice president of the UPS Advanced Technology Group.
This is a first great step in paving the way for building a diverse fleet of drones that can operate in different situations with varying capabilities, all while meeting many different client needs.
Wingcopter drones are ideal for this project as they feature vertical takeoffs and landings in confined spaces, and transition to efficient and high-speed horizontal flight, which enables them to suit a range of uses.
Moreover, their range is up to 120 kilometers (75 miles) and can reach speeds as high as 241 kph (150 mph) even in wind speeds of 72 kph (45 mph).
In October, Flight Forward received approval from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to operate a full-scale drone airline for the sole purpose of delivering packages.
It looks to be a great collaboration, as Wingcopter has already proven how well their delivery drones operate. For instance, it collaborated with Merck earlier this year, where they proved that they could properly carry small packages between the drug company's various offices in Darmstadt, Germany.
Furthermore, their drones have successfully delivered urgent medical supplies in hard-to-reach areas off the coast of Ireland and in Vanuatu through partnerships with UNICEF and other relief organizations.
Before proceeding with their collaboration, Wingcopter first has to have its aircraft certified for making commercial deliveries in the U.S.
Tom Plümmer, Wingcopter's CEO and founder, stated "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."