At the will of JOPP and Emqopter, the first urban flight with delivery drones shall be realized in Bad Neustadt. JOPP is a worldwide automotive supplier with headquarters in Bad Neustadt, Northern Bavaria and operates three plants there which are in close vicinity to each other.
As per the company, much time is lost in traffic for the transport of interoffice mail, spare parts and other small parts which could be transported much easier and faster by air. There are plans to use the new legislation for air traffic (which is valid in Germany since April) to transport small items by air. Flights are intended to be executed completely autonomously. Together with the drone experts of Emqopter from Würzburg, which have already realized some similar applications on a smaller scale, a project for the development of a fully failsafe delivery drones has been started. "We do not know how fast we will be able to commence", says Martin Büchs, Managing Director JOPP. The law had been passed only recently and the responsible authorities were still uncertain about possible authorisations. However, there was hope of initiating a test case with the authorities.
"We assume that a lot of persuading regarding security will be necessary in public and with neighbours affected", says Martin Büchs. Dr. Gageik, Managing Director of the Würzburg-based start-up Emqopter pointed out that failure safety had highest priority and that the planned technology could absolutely not be compared with the popular drones for the private sector. The hightech drone would be equipped with comprehensive sensor technology for detecting obstacles. Apart from redundant ultrasonic and infrared sensor technology, the drone should be controlled via GPS during flights. A similar application had already been presented at CeBIT and the Hannover Fair. There would be the possibility for trained operators to interfere during flights at any time. Emqopter can benefit from many man-years of developmental work in research and science which the founders had gained at the chair of Prof. Montegor, Chair of Computer Science and Aerospace Information Technology. Dr. Gageik himself had done his doctorate on the exploration of internal space with drones.
The aim of the two companies is to realise the first regular flight with a delivery drone in urban surroundings - in Germany, but maybe also worldwide. Anyway, there was no knowledge of any other application of that kind. It was known that Amazon, UPS and DHL were experimenting with similar ideas. A comprehensive application had since failed on account of the approving authorities. This should now be changed with a new security technology. The start would be a small drone with a total weight of 5 kg and flights would only take place if the weather is fine. Flights would be from the JOPP site in Herschfeld to the site "Am Donsenhaug" and would help to gain first experience in practice.
The first application would be to regularly transport food from the canteen in plant 1 to plant 2.
Emqopter is thinking one step further: "We know projects where drones can save lives, for example when transporting relief aid. With this project we want to prove that the technology is more secure than autonomous driving which is possible on test tracks in Bavaria as of late. This opens up ways for new ideas."
With the start of this development, JOPP has participated in Emqopter as an associate in the course of an increase in capital. Thus, there is no need for the founders around Dr. Gageik to worry about the financing of further growth. Some new jobs will be created within short.
With this project, the automotive supplier JOPP wants to demonstrate its own competency in the fields of electronics and especially sensor technology. After all, autonomous driving of vehicles is considered to be one of the future growth areas. For JOPP, this involvement is part of the comprehensive future strategy "JOPP 2030" which was presented to group executives last weekend. The company's aim is to prepare for a possible future of vehicles without combustion engine.
And why should the future of autonomous flying not start in Bad Neustadt? With the centre for electromobility, there is already a prestigious centre in the heart of the industrial city of Bad Neustadt.
Persons who are interested in the development of the project can register under drones(at)jopp.com.
Being a developer and manufacturer of flight robot technology and multicopter systems (drones), the Würzburg-based Emqopter GmbH focuses on the latest, innovative technologies in autonomy. Emqopter supplies individual solutions for commercial and industrial applications the focus being on inspection, maintenance and security. Customers benefit from cost reductions by means of efficiency increase, automatization and digitalization, but also from higher security and control thanks to reliable, most modern technology.