Spright, US, a subsidiary of Air Methods, and German drone developer Wingcopter have announced a new commercial agreement worth US$16 million to provide medical deliveries across the US.
As part of the commercial agreement, Wingcopter will provide a large fleet of its Wingcopter 198 electric drones to Spright, becoming the exclusive provider of fixed-wing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) delivery drone technology to the company.
In return, Spright will become the exclusive provider of maintenance, repair and overhaul for the Wingcopter 198 to US-based third parties.
The agreement builds upon a strategic partnership between the two companies which was announced in August 2021, shortly after Spright’s launch in July of that year. Under the terms of the partnership, Spright has been supporting Wingcopter’s acquisition of Federal Aviation Administration Unmanned Aircraft Systems-type certification.
Spright plans to develop drone delivery networks across the continental US
The agreement will support Spright’s overall plans to become an established player in the growing medical delivery drone sector, providing better access to healthcare for rural and underserved communities through deliveries of medical supplies, vaccinations, medications, blood and lab samples.
Spright is collaborating with the Hutchinson Regional Health System, based in Hutchinson, Kansas, for initial testing of the system, before expanding the service to other US states. The company ultimately plans to create a healthcare-specific drone delivery network spanning over 300 bases which will serve hundreds of predominantly rural hospitals across 48 states.
According to Tom Plümmer, co-founder and CEO of Wingcopter: “The projected compound annual growth rate for the drone delivery market of more than 50 per cent to a total volume of almost $40 billion in 2030 underlines the rapid adoption of eVTOL technology for last-mile logistics. We are happy to be at the forefront of this fast-growing market together with Spright.”
The two companies will be showcasing the Wingcopter 198 drone at logistics tech conference Manifest between 25 and 27 January in Las Vegas.
Similar medical delivery drone networks are being developed across other parts of the world, including in West Africa, where drone logistics specialist Zipline and UAVAid have partnered with local authorities in Côte d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.