The Wingcopter 198 is an impressive machine, with a wingspan of 198 cm (78 inches) and it can carry up to 6 kilograms (13.2 lb.) of cargo. It has eight propellers mounted on arms extending forward and back from the wings. The outer four props are lift-only, for VTOL purposes, and lock themselves into an aerodynamic configuration during the cruise. The inner front two props are capable of tilting 90 degrees forward to provide horizontal thrust, and the inner rear two props also tilt.
It’ll cruise at up to 144 km/h (89 mph) for up to 110 km (68 miles), in a broad range of weather conditions. For multiple deliveries to make, it can carry up to three packages per flight, hovering and lowering them to the ground at the drop points. They’re designed for fully autonomous operation, or alternatively, an operator can use Wingcopter’s control station software to monitor or pilot up to 10 drones at once.
It has raised some US$42 million in its latest funding round, bringing its total raise up to over US$60 million, and its new deal with Continental Drones in Africa will lead to a huge fleet of Wingcopter drones operating in all 49 sub-Saharan countries across the continent.
This fleet of drones will transport goods, medicines, lab samples, and vaccines to distant locations quickly and with no emissions.
“Together with Wingcopter, we are committed to accelerating the development and economic integration of Africa by enabling the creation of drone-based delivery networks across the continent,” says Alexander Asiedu, Founder of Continental Drones, in a press release. “With our longstanding business experience on the ground and Wingcopter’s best-in-class drone technology, these networks offer a real chance to fuel economic development and help improve the livelihood of millions. African nations show true leadership by implementing this cutting-edge technology for the betterment of their people and generations to come.”