We’ve been talking a lot about the increase in U.S. drone deliveries this spring. Texas, in particular, seems to be a hot spot for drone deliveries, with major announcements coming from Alphabet’s Wing and Flytrex to launch drone delivery operations in the Lone Star State. Irish company Manna plans to launch in the U.S. this year. And Zipline, which in 2021 announced plans to launch medical deliveries in Utah, this year also announced medical deliveries in North Carolina. But what is happening around the world? Here’s a roundup of the latest international drone delivery news that you should know:
Wing, a sister company of Google, launched its first store-to-door operations in Europe this month. Head to Helsinki, Finland, where Wing is delivering food, sweets, and household goods to parts of the Vuosaari, Marjaniemi, and Puotila neighborhoods.
This is Wing’s second location for the store-to-door model, which has already been happening at the Grand Plaza Mall in Logan City, Australia. With this model, Wing co-locates what it calls its “drone nest” with a store, so drones can directly depart from there rather than from a separate warehouse.
Read more: 6 things to know about Wing delivery drones
German Airways, under its parent company Zeitfracht Group, is set to commercially deploy drones in logistics, as evidenced by its purchased of 17 Wingcopter 198 delivery drones, on top of options to order an additional 115 drones in two further tranches by the end of 2023.
Zeitfracht, which already has a specialized shipping company called OPUS Marine under its umbrella, says it’ll deploy drones sometime by the second half of 20024 to use drones for offshore deliveries, including delivering spare parts to wind farms.
The aircraft are to be deployed from the second half of 2024 – initially offshore, for example for the delivery of spare parts to wind farms. Drones would take off from Rostock Airport in the German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Why is that 2024 date so far out? Zeitfracht said it’s imperative that the delivery drones can land with pinpoint accuracy on a moving ship, so German Airways and Wingcopter will work closely together on the development of that technology.
German Airways already holds an Air Operator Certificate (AOC), and is IOSA certified, a certification that means it operates according to the highest internationally agreed standards of the international aviation authority IATA.
ITOCHU, which is a Japanse trading imports and exports a range of products including textiles, machinery, chemicals, food, and other general products, this spring became a member of Wingcopter’s Authorized Partnership Program (WAPP). The program, put together by Germany-based eVTOL drone maker Wingcopter, allows ITOCHU to act as a dedicated distributor and lessor for the company’s Wingcopter 198 drone in Japan. The Wingcopter 198 is an eVTOL delivery drone, famous for its patented tilt-rotor mechanism and software algorithm.
Itochu claims an annual trading revenue of $93 billion, making it one of the largest Japanese general trading companies in the world with 125,000 employees. That sort of footprint could help propel drone delivery even higher, especially given Japan’s already-progressive approach to integrating drones into everyday life and openness to other drone delivery projects, such as a test with ANRA.
Drone delivery giant Zipline announced in February that it’ll implement its warehousing facility and autonomous aircraft technology within Kenya’s Kisumu County. It’ll primarily be used for the storage and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, blood products and other medical commodities to health facilities.
The news expands on Zipline’s ever-growing international drone delivery footprint in Africa, where it already operates in Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire.