Quickstep is to provide engineering services to produce a large ‘cargo drone’ capable of transporting 350 kilograms over 2,500 kilometres.
The Australian carbon fibre composites manufacturer has signed a deal with European business Dronamics to help launch the ‘Black Swan’ aircraft later this year.
It comes as Dronamics recently became the first company to secure a European ‘drone airline licence’.
Mark Burgess, Quickstep’s chief executive, said “The Dronamics solution could well revolutionise the middle-mile cargo delivery sector, and this partnership gives Quickstep the opportunity to provide our engineering and manufacturing expertise into delivering a large sophisticated cargo drone.”
The partnership was announced at the Farnborough International Airshow that took place on Monday 18 July.
The companies have a memorandum of understanding in place at this stage of the partnership with more detailed commercial negotiations taking place in the weeks to come.
Dronamics’ operating requirements are low, with its drone ports requiring only a 400 metre runway which may be paved or unpaved, a small set of standardised operating equipment, and a number of operators at each port.
Each ‘Black Swan’ drone can carry 350 kg of cargo and has a range of 2,500 km, a distance which covers the entirety of continental Europe, the UK, and the majority of Scandinavia.
The aircraft is currently in the prototype phase, with the production phase expected in 2023.
The company is intending to provide a viable same-day delivery option between costly air freight services or cheap yet slow road freight.
Dronamics co-founder Konstantin Rangelov, said, “The first strategic manufacturing partnership is a key milestone in our mission to enable same-day delivery for everyone, everywhere.
“As an innovator who is challenging the status quo in cargo mobility, we are thrilled to have the support of an experienced partner like Quickstep to help us realise the full potential of our solution.”
Earlier this month, Quickstep announced that it was joining the Greenbird air taxi consortium, while last year it partnered with drone logistics company Swoop Aero.