ITOCHU joins existing Wingcopter investors SYNERJET, DRONE FUND, Expa, Xplorer Capital, Futury Capital, Hessen Kapital III, and Corecam Capital Partners. The Japanese conglomerate has also agreed to become an authorized partner of Wingcopter and will be able to distribute and lease the 198 eVTOL drone for delivery services in Japan. (Photo: Wingcopter)
German drone manufacturer Wingcopter announced a strategic partnership today with Japanese general trading company ITOCHU Corporation. ITOCHU is not only investing in Wingcopter but will also distribute and lease the Wingcopter 198 delivery drone in Japan. This new agreement means that ITOCHU is now a part of Wingcopter’s Authorized Partnership Program, joining the Latin American aviation company Synerjet Corp as an authorized partner of Wingcopter.
The drone manufacturer announced in February that they are partnering with UAV del Peru for bringing drone delivery operations to Peru. Wingcopter will provide and deploy its Wingcopter 198 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) drones to enable commercial drone services as well as medical supply delivery in the South American country.
Pictured above is the Wingcopter 198 cargo drone model. (Photo: Wingcopter)
The agreement with ITOCHU is the latest example of Wingcopter’s growing global network of strategic partners that are able to act as drone operators, resellers, promoters, lessors, and distributors in a specific region. Wingcopter views Japan as one of the key markets for future unmanned aircraft system (UAS) delivery services, in part because the country takes a progressive approach to UAS integration. The CEO of Wingcopter, Tom Plümmer, expressed his confidence that ITOCHU’s partnership “will help us serve more Japanese customers and allow us to jointly scale Wingcopter’s operations across Japan.”
ITOCHU’s investment into Wingcopter was made through ITOCHU Europe PLC. The CEO of this subsidiary—Takanori Morita, who is also the Executive Officer of ITOCHU Corporation—believes that Wingcopter is in the best position to become a leader in the drone delivery market. “Together with Wingcopter and its stakeholders, we look forward to a great journey with a product that will make a positive difference to people’s lives,” he said. “Drone delivery has the potential to revolutionize how we transport goods, and it can immediately improve the quality of life for many people across the globe.”
In a recent interview conducted over email, Wingcopter’s Tom Plümmer told Avionics International that one upcoming goal for the company is to achieve type certification from the FAA for its eVTOL drone. The team also plans to establish drone delivery operations on every continent. At the beginning of 2022, Wingcopter partnered with a drone company called Spright to set up a nationwide delivery network in the United States. Spright is a subsidiary of Air Methods, a leading air medical service provider. Spright will be acquiring a significant number of Wingcopter 198 eVTOL drones for its fleet as part of their commercial agreement valued at over $16 million.