German eVTOL maker says funding, expertise will support bid for commerical operations in two to four years
Volocopter, the German urban air mobility developer which last year flew demonstration flights in Helsinki, Stuttgart and Singapore and secured a key European regulatory approval, has completed an €87 million funding round, taking total investment to €122 million.
The latest cash infusion bolsters the company’s ambition of achieving certification for its VoloCity autonomous, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger drone to run commercial routes within the next two to four years. New investors include German logistics group DB Schenker, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and TransLink Capital, part-owned by Japan Airlines.
Chief executive Florian Reuter says the new shareholder structure brings “the expertise and necessary long-term funds on board to make this innovative form of mobility a reality”.
In December, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) awarded the company Design Organisation Approval (DOA), giving it a streamlined pathway to commercial certification of its passenger carrying multi-copter.
Volocopter claims to be unique among eVTOL developers in holding this EASA status. Other DOA holders include Airbus, BAE Systems, Leonardo and Lufthansa Technik.
With the new funding round, Volocopter also expanded its advisory board. New members include DB Schenker chief executive Jochen Thewes, former Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche and Yifan Li - vice-president of Chinese automotive giant Geely Holding.
Thewes says: “We are convinced that the Volocopter technology has the potential to bring transport logistics to the next dimension for our customers. DB Schenker has already tested autonomous and electrical vehicles in several innovation projects and in actual operations.
“By integrating the VoloDrone into our supply chain of the future we will be able to serve our clients’ demand for fast, remote, emission-neutral deliveries.”
VoloCopter says the latest funding will go towards the certification of the VoloCity and developing a second-generation VoloDrone for cargo operations.