Wednesday, May 22, 2024

FlyingBasket FB3 heavy-lift drone nails first urban transport flight in Turin

Italian company FlyingBasket has reached an important milestone for the future of urban air mobility (UAM), performing the first urban area flight operation in the Italian city of Torino (Turin). The flight was part of a logistic demonstration in collaboration with Leonardo, an Italian global high-technology company, among the top world players in Aerospace, Defense, and Security, and Poste Italiane, the Italian postal service provider.

FlyingBasket’s FB3 eVTOL cargo drone with 100 kg payload capability has been in commercial operation for a year now since it received the first operational authorization to perform complex logistic missions in sparsely populated areas. During the demonstration, two FB3 heavy lift drones transported delivery packages over the Stura di Lanzo river. One drone with a cargo compartment and another with a sling payload carried 26 Kg each over a 3.9 Km distance to the destination (total flight 7 Km).

The sling payload with a cargo hook makes convenient delivery possible without the need for landing infrastructure whereas, the cargo compartment is designed to facilitate easier cargo handling, keeping it more protected from the elements during the flight. The demonstration set out a compelling instance for beyond pilots’ visual line of sight, or BVLOS flights in the advanced air mobility (AAM) context. The objective of the operation was to demonstrate the fast, efficient, and safe use of heavy-lift UAVs for freight hauling – in this instance, above a major urban center for the first time ever in Italy.

Delivery packages were transported by 2 heavy lift drones over the Stura di Lanzo river.
Delivery packages were transported by 2 heavy lift drones over the Stura di Lanzo river. Credit: FlyingBasket

“The future of logistics lies with autonomous cargo transportation,” said FlyingBasket CEO Moritz Moroder. “This mission demonstrated the incredible potential of cargo drones in metropolitan areas. Today we transport 100kg with a single drone; in the future, a fleet of autonomous drones will not only be able to keep up with rising logistics demand, but also increase flexibility and reduce delivery time.”

The FB3 cargo drone is equipped with eight rotors, which makes it a safe and reliable UAV, given that if one of the rotors fails in flight, the others will keep the drone in the air preventing any catastrophic effect due to the motor failure. Also, the embedded Veronte Autopilot adds to the system the intelligence needed to perform autonomous missions to hard-to-reach areas. It is equipped with a swappable battery and currently has a flight time between 15 to 50 minutes. The drone has an empty weight of 70 kg and a payload capacity of 100 kg.

ENAC granted the Operational Authorization in the city of Torino to FlyingBasket, based on the risk assessment, the demonstrated safety level of the operations, and the design of the FB3 drones that once again proved their reliability in challenging environments. FlyingBasket is determined to continue working towards offering efficient and flexible drone solutions in safety-critical environments across Europe and, soon, worldwide.