Wingcopter drones deliver groceries to remote parts of Germany

Wingcopter Grocery Delivery Drone
DroLEx’s pilot project facilitates grocery deliveries via drones and cargo ebikes to residents in Michelstadt, Germany's isolated regions. Images courtesy Wingcopter

Drone manufacturer Wingcopter is taking a significant step towards revolutionizing grocery deliveries in remote parts of Germany. In a pioneering pilot project named DroLEx, Wingcopter, in collaboration with various strategic partners including the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, the REWE Group, Vodafone, Riese & Müller, and the city of Michelstadt, is aiming to simplify and accelerate the process of grocery delivery to distant regions where conventional delivery services might not be as efficient or even available.

The concept of online ordering and quick delivery is nothing novel for city dwellers. However, those residing in less accessible areas often find these services to be out of reach. The DroLEx initiative aspires to bridge this accessibility gap, ensuring that people living in remote districts around Michelstadt, in the state of Hesse, can conveniently order non-perishable groceries online.

The project has meticulously planned the logistics. Customers can order their groceries through a specially dedicated LieferMichel webstore. Once the order is placed, the goods are packaged at the REWE store in Michelstadt. A courier, utilizing a cargo ebike, then transports these goods to a pre-determined departure point. Here, a Wingcopter drone, equipped and ready, awaits to secure and transport the package, which can weigh up to 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds).

Utilizing Vodafone’s communication network, the drone can autonomously navigate at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour), at altitudes reaching 100 meters (330 feet), ensuring swift and secure delivery. The drone lands at specified points located just outside the villages. Here, another cargo ebike courier takes responsibility for the package, ensuring its safe delivery to the customer’s doorstep.

Wingcopter Grocery Delivery Drone Pilot Project
The DroLEx pilot is set to run until late 2023, with its future dependent on initial success and popularity.

The initial phase of the DroLEx project is being made available to residents of Rehbach and Würzberg. It features products primarily from REWE, with plans to include offerings from other local retailers as the project evolves. One of the project’s critical objectives is to conduct a thorough evaluation from economic and ecological perspectives, overseen by experts from the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.

Funded generously by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport with a contribution of €430,000 (approximately US$453,555), the DroLEx pilot project is slated to run through the end of 2023. Its continuity beyond this point will largely depend on its received popularity and effectiveness during the initial run.

Wingcopter Grocery Delivery Drone Team
DroLEx unites Wingcopter, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, REWE Group, Vodafone, Riese & Müller, and the city of Michelstadt to innovate rural grocery deliveries in Germany.

Data and insights accumulated throughout the trial will be instrumental in cultivating a sustainable and scalable business model, intending to enhance local supply chains and facilitate improved services across other rural regions of Germany. As the first drone delivery service specialized in groceries and everyday essentials in Germany, DroLEx holds significant promise in fostering an environmentally friendly, efficient, and invaluable service for the residents of rural areas.

Source: Wingcopter