site.btaBulgarian Cargo Drone Startup Launches First Flights from Italy and Malta by end-2022
Bulgarian fixed-wing aircraft will start their first cargo deliveries in the Mediterranean by the end of 2022 and in Bulgaria itself in 2024. Cargo drone flights will begin in Malta and Italy and gradually increase their range, it emerged at Monday’s visit of caretaker Innovation and Growth Minister Aleksander Pulev at Dronamics, a Bulgarian technological startup working on the development and operation of cargo drones.
The company has developed its own drone, the Black Swan, enabling easy same-day cargo delivery.
It has nearly 140 employees, including over 100 in Bulgaria.
Turning Bulgaria into a cargo hub with the state playing an active role in support of high-tech companies in providing new markets were also discussed at the meeting.
All working mechanisms in support of Bulgarian innovative and high-tech companies will be preserved, Pulev promised. He plans more visits to other companies for feedback on how Bulgarian production could be supported.
Dronamics was founded in 2014 by the brothers Svilen and Konstantin Rangelov. It is IATA’s single strategic partner EU’s Light Unmanned Airctaft Systems UAS Operator Certificate (LUC). The Light UAS Operator Certificate (LUC) is the highest authorisation currently achievable under European drone operations and the first one issued in the EU for middle-mile cargo operations.
Svilen Rangelov said they planned mass cargo drone production in Bulgaria in the long term and would definitely leave the R&D and prototype centre developed by the company in this country over the past eight years.
Pulev also stressed that Bulgarian high-tech companies, which create added value in the economy, will be supported even more actively with all the financial instruments and programs in the portfolio of the Ministry of Innovation and Growth, including the Recovery and Resilience Plan. The forthcoming Competitiveness and Innovation in Enterprises Operational Programme is a case in point, he said. This is spearheaded at micro and SMEs with a fund of nearly BGN 3.0 billion, particularly high-tech startups, as well as such at various stages of development. Partnerships between small and large companies will be encouraged to develop and introduce new technologies, Pulev added.
Dronamics has financed its expansion through the stock exchange and now has over 1,000 shareholders. Launched under the JEREMIE initiative and the Eleven Fund, it has raised EUR 20 million in investment through various financial instruments over the years.
Dronamics is already preparing the Black Swan’s first cargo flights.
Unlike most drones, the Black Swan (pictured above) is actually a fixed-wing aircraft that can operate from runways as short as 400 meters, unpaved, and will enable same-day serving customers in even the smallest and most remote communities. It can carry up to 350 kg of cargo at a distance of up to 2,500 km at up to 80% lower cost than any aircraft in existence.
Able to run on 100% synthetic fuel, it will do so in a more environmentally friendly manner than any previous aircraft in existence, enabling global partners like DHL and Hellmann Logistics to not only serve their customers in the fastest way possible, but also in the greenest one as well.