Wingcopter hops on board as Flying Labs’ wingman
Weiterstadt, GERMANY – The future of delivery drones in Africa just got a little brighter.
Maybe not the whole of Africa yet, but at least in the eighteen countries that have an established a Flying Labs enterprise. We have written loads of stories about the good works of the Flying Labs network, that family of locally-led drone and robotics technology start-ups created just over five years ago by humanitarian organisation WeRobotics, for the sole purpose of helping prepare them for drone-based humanitarian undertakings that would usually be awarded to foreign based companies.
Now, the Flying Labs network has another technology partner in German manufacturer and operator of unmanned delivery drones, Wingcopter, which has agreed to join the partnership to improve supply chains through locally led cargo drone projects, as well as equip local talent with the skills to operate Wingcopter’s unmanned systems in long range drone applications.
The German start-up joins another cargo delivery company in AerialMetric of Madagascar as technology partner for the network, which strengthens local expertise in the use of drones, robotics, data and AI for positive social change in more than 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even in Europe.
Wingcopter brings plenty of drone delivery experience, having already worked in countries like Vanuatu, Ireland, Tanzania and Malawi too, where the company has established a delivery network for local healthcare supply chains, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ).
Besides, with the recent investment of $22million, the company is making inroads in Europe, the USA and other countries, as the delivery company of choice for on-demand medical supplies like COVID-19 vaccines to remote areas.
On the humanitarian front, Wingcopter runs Drone+Data Aid project with the African Drone and Data Academy in Malawi, to train youth from across the continent in drone operations.
“The partnership with the Flying Labs Network fits perfectly in our vision to create efficient and sustainable drone solutions to improve and save lives everywhere,”said Andi Fisanich, Wingcopter’s Head of Humanitarian Programs.
“It is impressive what the Flying Labs have built up, with support from the WeRobotics team, cultivating local skills and capacities through access to new technologies, education, and job opportunities. I truly believe that to strengthen supply chains with drones it requires an active and supportive ecosystem that knows and involves their local communities. Together, we can establish a drone service for developing countries that allows its citizens to take the lead in building out this new industry and directly benefit from it.”
The partnership allows Flying Labs around the world to directly access Wingcopter’s state-of-the-art technology and delivery drone expertise, and to acquire Wingcopter drones at a discounted price. And it should be a win-win partnership too; because a recent survey by WeRobotics found that almost 90 percent of Flying Labs see a demand for delivery drone services as the next big step in the drone landscape in their respective countries.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Wingcopter to the Flying Labs Network given their strong commitment to local leadership,” Dr. Patrick Meier, co-Founder and Executive Director of WeRobotics, said. “This commitment explains why several Flying Labs have already reached out to Wingcopter (and vice versa) to explore collaboration opportunities. We look forward to seeing Flying Labs engage in public health projects by leading the operation of Wingcopter drones in their own countries.”