Future of the logistics industry? Heavy load drone completes first flight

Congestion in ports, stagnation in the hinterland – to avoid such bottlenecks in the future, logistics need innovative solutions. A new approach to at least relieve road traffic: drones that transport heavy loads of up to 200 kilograms. At the ITS Mobility Congress in Hamburg, which took place in October, the company Volocopter flew a heavy-duty drone for the first time.

18 electrically driven rotors, a diameter of 9.15 meters and a height of 2.15 meters: the VoloDrone from the air taxi manufacturer Volocopter is an unmanned, fully electric cargo drone designed to transport ISO pallets. It is said to be able to transport loads over 40 kilometers. Thus, the drone can be used wherever conventional transport options reach their limits.

In the Hamburg port area the heavy load drone flew for the first time – as part of the international ITS Mobility Congress. The drone was equipped with a box containing a load the size of a Euro pallet. It transported the freight to a DB Schenker Cargo Bike. The delivery then reached its destination by cargo bike.

However, it seems highly unlikely that drones will also be suitable for container transport in the near future. Nevertheless, innovative transport concepts can help to relieve freight traffic. For example, the construction company Bögl presented the container variant of its Maglev train – also at the Mobility Congress – in the middle of the Port of Hamburg. The company uses wagons that can transport 40-foot standard containers. A major advantage: compared to trains of the Hamburg port railway, they can travel to their respective destinations individually and automatically, thus avoiding waiting times. This would allow them to take over the function of trucks in the port and transport the containers, for example, to a large rail transshipment point.

Futuristic? Perhaps. But at least this test was very promising.  

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