FlyingBasket cargo drone tested for middle mile delivery


Photo courtesy Leonardo.

Leonardo, the Italy-based aerospace, defense and security company; FlyingBasket, a designer, manufacturer, and operator of cargo drones; and Poste Italiane, Italy’s postal service provider, recently collaborated on a first phase of drone-based delivery tests in Turin. The trials were approved by the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) in line with ENAC’s National Airspace Strategy to Enable New Concepts of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).

The trials are the next step towards a new, more sustainable model of air traffic logistics, in which heavy goods can be transported from the air over densely populated areas, which are operated remotely by BVLOS.

The test series as part of the “Sumeri Moderni” trials focused on “Middle Mile Delivery” – delivery from a warehouse or distribution center to retail locations. The aircraft used was the FB3 VTOL electric cargo drone, built and operated by the Italian start-up FlyingBasket, which can carry up to 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds) and unload via cable, which enables operation in areas without a dedicated land infrastructure. The FB3 VTOL drone has been in commercial operation since 2020.

During the tests, the remote-controlled BVLOS cargo drones flew distances of 15 to 50 kilometers (9.3 to 31.1 miles). They transported heavy loads across urban areas with different population densities – typical logistical requirements for medium-mile delivery. This offers the potential to reduce consumer product delivery times and traffic congestion with an environmentally friendly approach.

The Sumeri Moderni tests are in preparation for EU legislation, which is expected to come into force in 2023, to regulate the flying of remote-controlled aircraft in U-Space, a special airspace currently being developed in collaboration with Leonardo.

Sumeri Moderni is Leonardo’s successor to “Sumeri: Si Salpa!” From last February. (“Sumeri Sets Sail!”) Experiment, the first experiment carried out in Italy as part of AAM. Leonardo started the Sumeri project in 2018 to promote the development of the AAM market and to study the safe use of drones in logistics. FlyingBasket was founded in 2015 and specializes in cargo drones with a payload of up to 100 kilograms for drone transport services. The start-up has experience operating drones in several European countries.


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