The startup Elroy Air wants to change the market in rural areas with a cargo drone. The first round of financing was certainly successful.
In recent years, the delivery of parcels by drone has become somewhat quieter. A startup from San Francisco wants to change that with its own project. The goal here is not just the transport of individual small packages, but whole pieces of furniture. Because at the end of a drone is to come out, which can carry up to 250 kilograms over a distance of about 500 kilometers.
The concept of the startup Elroy Air provides an unmanned aerial vehicle that can take off and land with six vertical rotors. For horizontal flight it then has wings and a rotor at the rear. With the capacity of a small delivery van, the cargo drone will then take over deliveries on more inaccessible routes from regular trucks. As far as the delivery time is concerned, the direct as the crow flies are sure to score.
Cargo drone: Many ideas from the drone startup
There are a few small but effective tricks for the logistics around the drone. Elroy Air wants to avoid loading times by using a hybrid-electric drive. Although the company is still covered in details, it sounds as if a generator on board produces the electrical energy for the rotor drives. That would mean that the drone can be refueled quickly.
In addition, there is a system of loading containers, called pods, which are picked up and transported by the drone. Loading and unloading the pods can then happen while the drone is on its way to the next destination or approaching the pickup location.
Where is the delivery by drone?
It will take several years of development time for the concept of Elroy Air to arrive in a commercial operation. Winged drones, as Zipline has shown in Africa, are very effective suppliers in rural areas there is less need to worry about flying over populated areas. Drone delivery is technically even simpler than self-driving cars, with much less traffic in the sky and no de facto obstacles.
However, the startup is not alone in the market even large aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing are working on very similar drone concepts. Investors still believe in Elroy Air, 9.2 million US dollars could collect the startup in a first round of financing. Now the entrepreneurs from San Francisco must show that they can put the concept into reality.
Also published on Medium.