Europe’s first licensed cargo drone is edging ever closer to action

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If you want to see drones flying through Europe, we have good news. This week aircraft company Dronamics was awarded a €2.5 million grant by the European Commission under the prestigious European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator program. 

Dronamics is Europe’s first licensed cargo drone airline and The International Air Transport Association (IATA’s) first Strategic Partner for drones. This has taken far too long.

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But, first, let’s talk about Dronamics. The company develops large long-range drones built specifically for cargo, like its Black Swan, which can carry 350 kg for up to 2,500 km.

This method of shipping is up to 80% faster, 50% cheaper, and with up to 60% lower emissions than alternative modes of transport — including airfreight — making it great for middle-mile deliveries.

This will enable same-day shipping in industries such as pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, and emergency aid. The drones can travel long distances, helping customers currently under-served by traditional delivery providers.

Online News Europe’s slow approach to commercial drones 

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Wing drone delivery in action

Commercial delivery drones have been slow to roll out in Europe. In the US and Australia, their use is focused on small deliveries, with companies like Wing (funded by Alphabet), Flytrex, and Zipline, delivering small food, grocery, and medication orders to restricted residential areas.

In Europe, there’s only Irish startup Manna currently delivering groceries, food and medication in Balbriggan, County Dublin. These operate with a model where goods are typically dropped in backyards or on a front lawn, raising last-metre challenges for apartment-dwellers in European cities. 

Online News Regional droneports will roll out soon

The grant supports the development and roll-out of Dronamics’ cargo drone fleet, the deployment of the first droneports in its network, as well as operations in Europe. 

Currently, the European Droneport Network includes more than 35 airports in 11 European countries, including Belgium, Croatia, Finland, Italy, and Sweden.