A tech company has signed a deal to roll out 12,000 of its long-range, triple-drop delivery drones across Africa, in what promises to be the largest commercial drone deployment ever attempted.
German firm Wingcopter said the move will address insufficient infrastructure in many African regions; one of the biggest barriers to universal health coverage and economic development.
The partnership with Continental Drones covers all 49 sub-Saharan countries, with the roll-out goal scheduled for over the next five years. Wingcopter also announced this month it has raised $42 million from investors, tripling the company’s total equity raised to more than $60 million to date.
The company explained: "Setting up large-scale drone delivery networks across African airspace will propel logistics in these countries to a new level and help build an entirely new transport framework – much faster, cheaper, more sustainable, and more efficient than the development of conventional ground-based infrastructure with all its unhealthy and climate-damaging emissions."
Wingcopter said its technology will be deployed to improve the delivery of items including on-demand medicines, vaccines, laboratory samples, as well as essential goods for daily use. The fully electric Wingcopter 198 drone is also expected to contribute to a more sustainable African logistics sector and help move economies towards net-zero emissions.
Tom Plümmer, Co-Founder and CEO of Wingcopter, added: "Wingcopter is well-positioned to execute against the tremendous opportunity of drone delivery in the next decade. We are convinced that our cooperation with Alex and his Continental Drones team will unlock the African drone delivery market on a large scale, allowing us to jointly improve and save millions of lives."