Wingcopter is delivering groceries to rural German villages

5 Oct 2023

Image: Wingcopter

The government-funded project is giving two rural regions the option to order groceries online, which are then delivered via Wingcopter drones and cargo bikes.

Drone delivery start-up Wingcopter has hit a new milestone by launching deliveries of everyday goods in Germany.

The company’s pilot project, called ‘LieferMichel’, is offering delivery services to residents in remote districts in the German state of Hesse. The goal is to improve local supply in the region by letting these residents get groceries and consumer goods delivered quickly by a Wingcopter drone and cargo bike.

The project is initially serving the remote districts of Rehbach and Würzberg in the town of Michelstadt, which is situated in the Odenwald mountain region. The products they can order such as non-perishable milk, eggs, fruit, vegetable, canned food and various non-refrigerated products.

The orders are flown by a Wingcopter drone to landing points outside of the villages, before they are transported to the end customers by electric cargo bike.

Wingcopter CEO Tom Plümmer said the company’s biggest goal is to gain experience and evaluate the possibility of “an environmentally friendly and efficient service” that creates value for rural areas.

“We are deeply grateful for the hospitality of the people of Odenwald and the openness with which they have welcomed the project and the LieferMichel team,” Plümmer said.

Wingcopter said the project will initially run until the end of 2023 and will be continued if it proves successful. The project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport and is being evaluated by the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences.

Wingcopter is one of many rising drone delivery companies operating in some capacity in Europe, such as Bobby Healy’s Manna Drone Delivery and Alphabet’s Wing.

In 2021, Wingcopter capitalised on the growth in contactless deliveries during the Covid-19 pandemic and raised $22m in Series A funding.

Earlier this year, the start-up raised €40m thanks to funding from the European Investment Bank to develop and scale its fleet of cargo drones. Wingcopter also teamed up with Siemens Healthineers to transport lab samples and medical supplies for African healthcare facilities.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic