Projects in North Carolina to mark a new chapter of Volansi’s commercial drone delivery service within the United States

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, August 4, 2020 – Volansi, Inc., the California-based cargo drone delivery service provider developing autonomous VTOL UAVs, today announces it has signed a teaming agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation to begin commercial, middle-mile drone delivery projects in North Carolina. 

Volansi and the N.C. Department of Transportation will work together with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),  to gather data on drone delivery programs and how they could be incorporated long-term into the current transportation infrastructure and regulations. 

“We are excited to have this opportunity to work closely with the FAA and the N.C. Department of Transportation to help shape how drones fit into our home country’s infrastructure,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “We believe that one day, autonomous flight will be as commonplace and accessible as mailing a letter, and Volansi technology will play a pivotal part in this transport revolution.”

Volansi will initially perform tests and VLOS cargo delivery flights under Part 107 as part of the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) in North Carolina, with the intent to scale to more projects with additional waivers and permissions with the support of the N.C. Department of Transportation and the FAA.   

Projects will initially utilize the VOLY C10- Gen 2, Volansi’s all-electric, hybrid VTOL fixed-wing UAV. This enables Volansi’s drones to complete complex, two-way missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. Because the drones fully land at the delivery point, they can deliver and return cargo such as samples for analysis and diagnosis, or parts for repair. 

The drone flies autonomously and can carry up to 10lb of cargo over 50 miles. Volansi’s award-winning, in-house Flight Operations Team handles all operations of the VOLY C10 providing an end-to-end delivery service to customers.  VOLY C10 aircraft have already performed operations in Africa, the Caribbean, and in the United States.

The VOLY M20 autonomous UAV to be showcased as a solution for AFWERX Base of the Future Challenge

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, JULY 9, 2020 – Volansi, Inc., the leader in autonomous VTOL UAV manufacturing and cargo delivery services, today announces it has been selected by the United States Air Force (USAF) as an official showcase solution at AFWERX Fusion 2020. Volansi’s newest drone, the VOLY M20, will participate as a solution within the Base of the Future Challenge. 

AFWERX Fusion 2020 is a three-day virtual event hosted by AFWERX, the innovation program of the United States Air Force. Fusion showcases are AFWERX’s largest annual competitions. 

This year’s Base of the Future Challenge was inspired by the USAF’s on-going project to rebuild and modernize Tyndall AFB, Fla., which was destroyed in 2018 by a Category 5 hurricane. Volansi’s solution titled, “Loyal Patroller: Autonomous Monitoring and Response to Protect, Defend, and Fight”, focuses on the use of the VOLY M20 to increase base security by augmenting the capabilities of on-the-ground security forces, detecting and identifying potential threats, and providing persistent, extended visibility above and beyond.

“We are excited that our solution was selected for AFWERX Fusion 2020”, said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Volansi is working to drive autonomous flight forward, and we see modernized military bases to be much like cities of the future. They are spaces that will have multiple modes of transportation and autonomous technology being used to augment and amplify the work of each community member.” 

AFWERX Fusion attendees will have the opportunity to learn more about the VOLY M20 in Volansi’s virtual trade show “booth”. The VOLY M20 is a new generation of dual-role aircraft,  offering the ability to simultaneously carry 20 pounds of cargo and a 10 pound ISR or sensor payload. A hybrid flight system that combines electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) with fixed-wing forward flight, allows the VOLY M20 to complete complex missions with minimal to zero infrastructure.

This selection comes on the heels of Volansi’s recent award of a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program. In addition to work with the US Department of Defense, Volansi’s UAVs are already in use for commercial cargo delivery projects around the world, and soon-to-begin commercial drone delivery projects launching in the United States this summer.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, JUNE 10, 2020 – Volansi, Inc., the leader in autonomous VTOL UAV manufacturing and cargo delivery services, today announces it has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the United States Air Force (USAF) through the Department of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) Center of Excellence innovation program.

The Phase II contract will allow Volansi to demonstrate the innovative capabilities of the long-distance, heavy-payload VOLY M20 VTOL drone.

The VOLY M20 offers the ability to simultaneously carry 20 pounds of cargo and a 10 pound ISR or sensor payload. A hybrid flight system that combines electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) with fixed wing forward flight, allows the VOLY M20 to complete complex missions with minimal to zero infrastructure- providing flexibility and true runway independence. Volansi’s technology increases the capabilities of troops and has many use cases like enabling the continuous and rapid resupply of forward troops, expanding situational awareness with ISR, or extending comms through data relay.

“We are delighted for this SBIR Phase II award and look forward to partnering with the United States Air Force Special Operations Command on this project,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Our goal is to develop technology that unburdens, equips, and increases the warfighter’s capability to successfully compete and win in any situation. We are proud to continue to contribute to the work that our brothers and sisters are doing within the United States Military.”

In a prior SBIR Phase I award, Volansi’s group 3 VTOL unmanned aerial vehicle, the VOLY C20, was successfully evaluated as an effective tool to enable resupply of the warfighter of tomorrow. Volansi’s UAVs are already in use for commercial cargo delivery projects around the world, and soon-to-begin commercial drone delivery projects launching in the United States this summer.

Volansi commended for its cutting edge unmanned aerial technology, capabilities, safety and standards

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 18, 2020Volansi, Inc., the leader in autonomous VTOL UAV manufacturing and cargo delivery services, today announces it has received the Airmanship Special Award from the African Drone Forum for its outstanding participation and operational excellence in the Lake Kivu Challenge unmanned aerial vehicle flying competitions.

The Lake Kivu Challenge was part of the 2020 African Drone Forum held in Rwanda in February. A collaboration between the Government of Rwanda, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID/UKAID), and the World Bank Group, the Forum and Challenge aimed to showcase real-world use cases for autonomous drone delivery across Africa. The Challenge received more than 70 applications from drone companies headquartered in 35 countries, with the top ten finalists invited to put their drones and operators to the test through real-life scenarios at Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda.

“We see Airmanship as a multi-dimensional concept and a mindset that every member of our team strives to embody every day,” said Volansi CEO and Co-Founder, Hannan Parvizian. “We are honored to receive the Airmanship Award from the African Drone Forum organizers and see it as another validation of our ability to continue to transform the way critical goods are transported to the places they are needed most.”

As part of the flying competition, participants underwent rigorous scrutineering of their safety practices, training standards, maintenance procedures, risk mitigation, and concepts of operation. All areas that Volansi excels in.

“Our team was able to leverage the experience we have from our on-going, operational projects already occurring in Africa and elsewhere,” said Mike Jackson, Director of Flight Operations at Volansi and recently retired US Air Force Special Operations Colonel. “That ability to scale over and over is our differentiator. We have operational standards and procedures already in place, which is important for disciplined and professional aviation operations- especially ones that rely on automated flight.”

In addition to having experience within the region and award-winning operational practices, Volansi’s UAVs are uniquely suited to the complicated terrain of Africa due to the hybrid flight system employed in their design that combines electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) with a fixed-wing, “pusher”-driven forward flight mode. This enables Volansi’s drones to complete complex, two-way missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. Because the drones fully land at the delivery point, they can deliver and return cargo such as samples for analysis and diagnosis, or parts for repair.

Moving forward, Volansi seeks to continue commercial and humanitarian projects in Africa, with the long-term vision of collaborating with local governments and communities to build the first interconnected delivery drone network within the continent.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 1, 2020— Today Volansi, Inc., the leader in autonomous VTOL UAV design, manufacturing and service, announced the launch of their newest unmanned aerial vehicle, the VOLY M20 at the United States Air Force’s Agility Prime Virtual Trade Show.

The VOLY M20 is a new generation of dual role aircraft offering customers the ability to simultaneously carry 20 pounds of cargo and a 10 pound ISR or sensor payload. It was designed to meet the exacting requirements of commercial customers operating in remote maritime locations and military customers who require a flexible vehicle for resupply and ISR applications. The VOLY M20 has a 350-mile range, cruising at 75 mph, and more than eight hours of endurance for sensor operations.

“The VOLY M20 was designed with modularity and mission flexibility in mind,” Volansi CEO and Co-Founder, Hannan Parvizian said. “The user experience is a key pillar of this design. We incorporated all the feedback we received from our customers on the need for an easy to use, maintain, and operate aircraft that is capable of operating on both land and at sea.”

Made in the USA, the VOLY M20 utilizes a hybrid flight system that combines electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) with a fixed-wing, “pusher”-driven forward flight mode. The VOLY M20 can be configured with the customer’s choice of highly reliable heavy-fuel (JP5/JP8/Kerosene) or gasoline engines.

The VTOL design enables the VOLY M20 to complete complex missions with minimal to zero infrastructure needs. Because the M20 lands at the delivery point, it can return with cargo such as samples for analysis, diagnosis, or repair.

Starting today customers interested in incorporating the VOLY M20 into their operations can sign-up for invite-only flight demonstrations which will be held once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Volansi welcomes Daniel Buchmueller to the leadership team

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, February 28, 2020– Volansi, Inc., an on-demand drone delivery service, is pleased to announce its recent hire of Daniel Buchmueller as Chief Technology Officer. Buchmueller, a pioneering force within the drone delivery industry, will spearhead engineering efforts at Volansi, as well as set the direction for the company’s future unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and systems technology.

Prior to joining Volansi, Buchmueller was Vice President, Head of Drone Cargo by Airbus and Co-Founder of Amazon PrimeAir, as well as Director of Engineering at Flatiron Health.

“I was attracted to Volansi after seeing the VOLY C10 fly. What they are doing is real and now,” Buchmueller said. “I believe in the company’s mission to make the world of the future a more accessible place and I think that UAV technology is the best multiplier to truly create change.”

Known across the industry as a passionate and fearless engineer, Buchmueller has extensive experience leading teams. “The incredibly talented people, the professionalism of Volansi’s flight operations, the culture instilled in the company, and the pragmatic execution of customer projects is ultimately what excites me the most about joining the team,” said Buchmueller. “These are the building blocks that will allow us to make the impossible possible within the drone delivery industry.”

“We are excited to have Daniel join our leadership team,” Hannan Parvizian, Co-Founder and CEO of Volansi, said. “We believe our technology is part of a global revolution in transportation, and Daniel is the kind of bold thinker we need to help Volansi revolutionize the way the world thinks about deliveries and how goods move.”

 

Successful pilot demonstrates potential new option for delivering medicines and vaccines in hard-to-reach locations and during emergencies. Additional tests planned.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 10, 2019/PRNewswire/ — A consortium led by humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief today announced the successful completion of a program testing the potential to deliver temperature-controlled medicines and vaccines by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also known as drones). It is the fourth in a series of proof-of-concept missions the group has undertaken to demonstrate the potential of using UAVs to safely deliver temperature-dependent medicines and vaccines to hard-to-reach locations. Direct Relief, Merck (known as MSD outside the U.S. and Canada), Softbox, AT&T and Volansi are working together on the project.

The successful pilot and the potential of UAV technology could represent an important step forward in biopharmaceutical supply chain innovation and for humanitarian efforts around the world. The pilot was conducted in the Bahamas. The group previously conducted test flights in Switzerland and Puerto Rico.

“Experience and research consistently show that those most at risk of health crisis in disasters live in communities which are likely to be cut off from essential health care due to disruption of transportation and communications,” said Andrew Schroeder, who, among other responsibilities, leads analytics programs, data visualization, and geospatial analytics for Direct Relief. “Drone delivery is one of the most promising answers to this problem. More remains to be done to operationalize medical cargo drones in emergencies. But successful tests like this one demonstrate that remarkable new humanitarian capabilities are emerging quickly.”

While the technology is promising, the potential viability of the technology for real-world application will depend on several factors, including tackling diverse and evolving regulatory challenges around the world.

“This successful pilot demonstrates the potential of innovative UAV technology to aid in delivery of temperature-dependent medicines and vaccines to people who critically need them,” said Craig Kennedy, senior vice president, Supply Chain, at Merck. “The potential of UAV technology is just one of the many areas in which we are innovating across our business and our supply chain to maximize our ability to save and improve lives around the world.”

The pilot test was conducted fully autonomously with cold-chain delivery technology allowing for precise temperature control of medicines and vaccines at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius, the temperature required for storing and transporting some life-saving medicines and vaccines. It utilized live, continuous temperature tracking through the duration of the flight with cloud-based, real-time data analysis and collection, designed to ensure safe and effective delivery.

“Our goal is to revolutionize the way goods and people move in the world,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi, in San Francisco. “Successfully demonstrating our ability to make temperature-controlled drone deliveries in various climate and terrain conditions across these pilots is a first step towards realizing our vision for a world in which no one should be deprived of access to life-saving medical supplies and vaccination due to lack of infrastructure and responsiveness of the transportation ecosystem.”

Richard Wood, Director, Digital Connected Technologies at Softbox, said, “This most recent proof-of-concept test has once again demonstrated the capabilities of the Softbox SKYPOD for the transportation of life saving medicines, this time at ultra-low temperatures. To ensure full track and trace throughout the test flight Softbox utilized Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and data dashboard services provided by AT&T. The data collected during the successful flights has shown everybody involved the power of IoT to provide full visibility of the Cold Chain, even in the most extreme environments while using innovative transportation modes. Through close collaboration with Direct Relief, Merck, Volansi and AT&T, we have successfully proven the capabilities of this unique and ground-breaking combination of cutting-edge technologies and now will focus our efforts on completing subsequent pilot projects.”

In the test, a UAV flew over open water between the islands of the Bahamas, beyond the operator’s line of sight. Volansi built and operated the all-electric drones, and the temperature-controlled payload box was developed by Softbox and connected by AT&T. Merck initiated the idea and provides supply chain expertise. The collaborators will now advance the pilot program so the technology can be tested in Africa and Latin America. The group of organizations involved in the successful pilot plan to continue to explore ways in which this technology can be used to deliver life-saving medicines and vaccines to the communities that need them most.

About Direct Relief
A humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies, Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need—without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay. For more information, please visit https://www.DirectRelief.org.

About Merck
For more than a century, Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to advance the prevention and treatment of diseases that threaten people and communities around the world – including cancer, cardio-metabolic diseases, emerging animal diseases, Alzheimer’s disease and infectious diseases including HIV and Ebola. For more information, visit www.merck.com and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Softbox
Softbox is an award-winning, temperature-control packaging innovator that has been designing and producing high-performance passive temperature control packaging solutions for over 20 years. We offer consistent quality to our clients from our strategically located global manufacturing sites throughout Europe, Americas, India and Asia Pacific. We have formed long standing partnerships with the world’s leading pharmaceutical, clinical research, biotech and logistics companies, and apply innovative thinking to overcome the challenges that our clients face in managing the Cold Chain when shipping temperature sensitive clinical trial and commercialized products. In 2014, Great Point Partners, a leading health care investment firm, recapitalized Softbox to provide growth financing for the Company to continue to execute on its expansion, innovation and global investment strategy to support its clients around the globe. For more information about Softbox and its innovative packaging, visit www.softboxsystems.com.

About Volansi
Volansi provides fast on-demand aerial delivery service for time-critical shipments over long ranges. We build and operate long-range, high-payload drones for commercial, defense, and humanitarian applications. Leveraging drone technology as a transportation method, we help our customers gain control of their supply chain and save millions of dollars on downtime and inventory costs. To learn more, visit www.flyvoly.com.

SOURCE Direct Relief

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 26, 2019– Volansi, Inc., an on-demand drone delivery business based in San Francisco, CA, announced today that Paul Ricci, former Chairman and CEO of Nuance Communications, will be joining the company’s board of directors.

“We are delighted to welcome Paul to our board,” said Hannan Parvizian, CEO and Co-Founder of Volansi. “Paul’s leadership, experience and insight will be very valuable- particularly now when we’re in a rapid growth period, both with the capabilities of our autonomous flight technology and in the expansion of our drone delivery service to new countries around the world.”

Ricci retired as Chairman and CEO of Nuance Communications in 2018, after serving the organization for nearly two decades. During his tenure at Nuance, Ricci transformed the company from a small software publisher into a $2 billion leading provider of conversational speech and AI solutions.

“The work Volansi is doing is visionary and will change the way the world thinks about mobility,” said Paul Ricci. “Soon the autonomous systems they are creating will allow goods and people to quickly, safely and reliably get to where they are needed, no matter where that is. The economic opportunity and improvement in the quality of life for everyone will be immeasurable.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 13, 2019– Volansi, Inc., an on-demand aerial delivery business based in San Francisco, has raised $20 Million in Series A funding. The funding was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, who was the lead investor for Volansi’s seed round funding, with support from Y Combinator.

Volansi builds and operates high-speed long-range drones for on-demand delivery of time-critical shipments. These high-payload unmanned aerial systems (UAS) provide delivery services for commercial, defense and humanitarian applications including delivery of parts and medical supplies. The company was founded in 2015 by Hannan Parvizian and Wesley Zheng and is headquartered in San Francisco, with a production facility in Concord, CA.

The Series A funding enables Volansi to expand its operations in the commercial and defense markets and build out its product offerings.​ ​“Volansi brings a new means of transportation and aerial autonomy to the market,” says Hannan Parvizian, CEO of Volansi. “We are very proud to have the support of Lightspeed Partners and our other investors as we expand our services and support our customers.”

Volansi leverages drone technology as a transportation method to help customers gain control of their supply chain and save millions of dollars on downtime and inventory. The company provides key support to commercial and defense industries, including construction, mining, oil & gas, medical and heavy equipment operations.

Volansi also creates an avenue for customers and communities to receive life-saving supplies when needed most. Volansi was a proud partner to an innovative approach to disaster relief in Puerto Rico in 2018-19. In the wake of natural disasters, poor access to healthcare and supplies contributes significantly to illness and mortality. Working with Merck & Co. Inc. and Direct Relief, the Volansi team tested drone flights and the coordinated processes needed to provide medical supplies to disaster areas. Volansi provided the drones and the piloting, as well the quick securing of flight permissions. Securing inter-island flight permissions has traditionally been a major stumbling block in the implementation of emergency supply drone cargo deliveries.

The success of the mission demonstrated Volansi’s expertise and capacity to provide aid to disaster-struck regions with its unmanned vehicles. “Our services via unmanned aerial systems can help save lives in disaster areas”, says Parvizian. “We are pleased to collaborate with Merck and other partners on this innovative new model of disaster-relief delivery.”

 

LAS PIEDRAS, Puerto Rico, Aug. 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Direct Relief, Merck, AT&T, Softbox and Volansi this week are piloting a test of emergency medical supply deliveries using drones to model an innovative approach to disaster response.

The organizations are testing drone flights and the coordinated processes needed to provide medical supplies by drone in a temperature-controlled environment with real-time monitoring. The long-distance deliveries must comply with U.S. and Puerto Rico laws and regulations for prescription drug delivery, including a documented chain of custody; Federal Aviation Administration approval for flight plans; and, for some products, must be consistently refrigerated to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of the medicines.

The drones are designed to carry the types of medications people often lose access to in disasters, which can lead to health crises or death. The technology of the smart boxes allows for temperature-control when delivering products such as some of Merck’s vaccines. The non-refrigerated cargo can carry medications for asthma and hypertension for instance.

Researchers estimate that most deaths from Hurricane Maria in September 2017, were caused by loss of access to medicines and health care, not by wind or water. As people were displaced from their homes, health centers lost power for weeks, and travel was extremely difficult. This likely contributed to an increase in deaths from chronic diseases that can be managed under normal conditions.

This week tests were conducted with drones flying in challenging terrain in remote areas impacted during Maria, beyond the line of sight. The drone deliveries extend to remote mountain villages that were cut off from electricity and road access for months after Hurricane Maria, some of them for a time accessible only by helicopter.

In upcoming tests, drones will fly over sea to deliver medicines and vaccines.

In this pilot program, each organization has brought something unique to the table to innovate the way medicines are delivered to people who need them:

  • Direct Relief is coordinating the effort, testing how such systems can be deployed in an emergency, and secured the participation of health centers in Puerto Rico.
  • Merck conceived of the project and is funding the tests and donating medications for delivery, using its Las Piedras facility as the departure point.
  • Softbox makes the small temperature controlled packaging system for transporting cold chain medications – those requiring constant refrigeration.
  • AT&T’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology is being used to monitor the temperature and location of Softbox’s cold chain boxes.
  • Volansi is providing the long-range delivery drones and is controlling the flights.

“Post-Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has become a hotbed of innovation in disaster relief and healthcare resiliency,” said Andrew Schroeder, director of research and analysis at California-based Direct Relief. “In emergency response, we need to quickly get medicine to remote locations that may be otherwise reachable only by helicopter. As drone technology and systems for managing them improve, we expect them to save lives in places where disasters have cut off access to critically needed healthcare.”

“Merck is pleased to collaborate on this innovative new model for delivering medicines to patients in areas affected by natural disasters,” said Brenda Colatrella, executive director, Corporate Responsibility at Merck. “We’re proud of our long history of expanding access to our medicines and vaccines, and of working with our partners to provide humanitarian assistance. The successful test flights give us hope that we will be able to provide a reliable supply of our medicines for disaster relief.”

“Softbox is proud to be working with Direct Relief, Merck and AT&T on this ground-breaking, innovative project,” said Richard Wood, technical director at Softbox. “We understand the importance of delivering life-saving medications safely and at the right temperature, especially in situations such as humanitarian disasters. We have developed, in collaboration with AT&T, a brand new type of IoT enabled temperature control packaging system, SKYPOD, which has been designed specifically for Drone/UAV delivery systems and to perform in the most extreme conditions, until the medication is delivered to the patient. SKYPOD can be tracked in near real-time using SMARTBOX, powered by AT&T’s IoT, providing real-time data for temperature, GPS location and security, ensuring the protection of the medicines through the most challenging of Final Mile scenarios.”

“Disaster is still fresh in the minds of the people of Puerto Rico. Devastated by one of the worst hurricane seasons on record last year, the island is still in recovery mode. We participated in a drone trial in Puerto Rico to show it’s possible to use drones to deliver temperature-sensitive medicines in places with difficult to reach terrains. Our IoT technology tracks the SKYPOD with reporting data accessible through a dashboard. This could be a game-changer when time is of the essence to deliver vital medicines following a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis,” said Jose Juan Dávila, VP-GM AT&T Puerto Rico & USVI.