Cargo drones carrying relief supplies to be even safer in the future
Sensor solution provider HENSOLDT and the Dutch company Wings For Aid have entered into a strategic partnership. The two-stage cooperation aims to improve the air safety of cargo drones. Wings For Aid has developed the “MiniFreighter”, a 650-kg Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) that delivers humanitarian goods to people isolated by natural disasters and man-made crises.
In the first phase, these cargo drones will be equipped with the “SferiRec LCR 100” flight data recorder. Equipped with this, the drone will have a significantly improved recording capability of the flight attitude data and the flight control system. The drone has already completed successful flight tests at various locations, including Magdeburg-Cochstedt airfield. This is home to the DLR’s National Test Centre for Unmanned Aircraft Systems, one of Wings For Aid’s partners.
In a possible second step, further technical upgrades will be added to increase aircraft autonomy and improve the Wings For Aid flight test capability as an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and global system provider. The operational data collected from test and flight missions up to that point can be used directly for this purpose. Capabilities such as “Detect and Avoid” (DAA) and the improvement of the Drop Zone Safety Automation System should then ensure that the operational range is increased and the workload of the pilot operator is significantly reduced. This is essential to scale up so-called BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) flights with multiple aircraft.
“We are very proud to be making a contribution that will enable relief supplies to be transported to crisis areas even faster and more cost-effectively in the future,” says Steffen Kolditz, Head of the Airborne Solutions business unit at HENSOLDT.
HENSOLDT is a leading company in the European defence industry with global reach. Based in Taufkirchen near Munich, the company develops complete sensor solutions for defence and security applications. As a technology leader, HENSOLDT drives the development of defence electronics and optronics and is continuously expanding its portfolio based on innovative approaches to data fusion, artificial intelligence and cyber security. With more than 6,500 employees, HENSOLDT achieved a turnover of 1.7 billion euros in 2022. HENSOLDT is listed in the MDAX of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
About Wings for Aid
Wings for Aid is a leading company in the development of cargo drones for humanitarian use. Based in The Netherlands, it orchestrates an extensive partner network to achieve its statutory mission: ‘reaching people anywhere’. Starting from, and strictly adhering to, briefings of humanitarian partners, Wings for Aid successfully developed a cardboard box for precise airdrops, a remotely piloted aircraft system to carry the boxes to their destination and an ERP system for deployment and flight monitoring. Partners include the Dutch and German Aerospace Centres NLR and DLR, amongst others. Regional operating partners operate the Wings For Aid-owned fleet of aircraft, primarily for humanitarian organisations such as World Food Programme and Red Cross.