Phoenix-Wings, a young German company focusing on cargo drones, scores at the international Lake Kivu Challenge (LKC) held in Rwanda, Africa. The competition took place in February and published results Tuesday May 5th. Using its vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) drone “Manta Ray”, the company won the sample pickup competition and also closely competed in the emergency delivery part. Additionally, the team achieved the innovation award. Following up on the success, Phoenix-Wings is already working with partners on medical and disaster relief applications including remote island supply in crisis as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Jian Wang, CEO of Phoenix-Wings noted: “As the only company qualified to participate in two competitions and operating the largest drone, we are especially proud to having achieved these perfect results. “
The LKC competitions were held as part of the African Drone Forum, an international conference on the use of drones in civil applications on the African continent. Using the venue, technology and vision of Phoenix-Wings were presented to a broad audience including His Excellency Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda.
The LKC tasks required to take-off at a drone port at the shore of lake Kivu, fly to an island about 20km out and deliver or pickup medical supplies. Since no runways are present at the sites, the drones must be able to take-off and land vertically like a helicopter. From early 2019 on, companies had to present their technical approach, safety concept and market strategy. Starting at over 70 applications in the first phase, 10 companies were finally invited to Rwanda.
Upon selection, Phoenix-Wings prepared its “Manta Ray” system, a fully electric heavy lift and high-volume cargo drone. Its specially designed shape allows for an efficient transport of a modular 30-liter cargo box containing up to 10kg of cargo. Delivery range is up to 120km.
At the drone port in Rwanda, the first task was to demonstrate safe operations of the drone over the lake, well beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Intensive scrutineering was conducted by independent experts to verify safety, owing to the novelty of such applications worldwide. Being well prepared, Phoenix-Wings was granted approval to perform BVLOS operations as the first team.
In the competition flights, the “Manta Ray” showed its strengths in cargo capacity and volume by delivering and picking up the highest payload of all teams. Additionally, the technical features of the system, the only one
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