Scottish Enterprise backs ‘danger zone’ drone
An Edinburgh firm has received nearly £1m of government support to develop a drone capable of carrying heavy cargo into risky environments.
Flowcopter designs and manufactures Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) capable of carrying up to 100kgs of goods for a range of sectors from retail and renewables to emergency rescue and humanitarian aid.
It has the potential to reduce risks to aircrew in conflict or disaster zones by moving cargo to remote or difficult to access areas.
The technology could also be used for offshore wind operations and maintenance, remote logistics, crop dusting and wildfire fighting.
The Flowcopter drone, called FC100, is the first of its kind and uses an entirely new type of hydraulic power take off which enables it to lift a heavy payload and fly for hours.
It operates on less than 30% of the aviation fuel used by a helicopter and is attracting interest from aerospace companies looking to decarbonise their operations.
A £950,000 grant from Scottish Enterprise complements a total investment in the company of £1.9m and has supported the creation of at least seven jobs, bringing the team to 17.
Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray visited Flowcopter alongside managing director of innovation and investment at Scottish Enterprise Jane Martin.
Mr Gray said: “Flowcopter embodies the Scottish Government’s commitment to innovation and sustainability. This technology will drive improvements in Scotland’s economy and progress our vision to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world as set out in our National Innovation Strategy.
“The Scottish Government is in the early stages of developing a robotics cluster, with an ambition to be at the forefront of developing, testing and deploying Robotics and Autonomous Systems, including drones.”
Ms Martin said: “Flowcopter is an innovative and future focused business with ambitions to scale – exactly the kind of company which will help transform Scotland’s economy by delivering growth and high value jobs.”
Flowcopter was founded in 2019 as a spin out from Artemis Intelligent Power prior to acquisition by Danfoss. Peter McCurry, Dr. Uwe Stein, Marek Szupryczynski and Dr Niall Caldwell set up the company after identifying the huge potential that digital hydraulics offered for aerospace applications.
Mr McCurry, managing dierctor, said: “The ongoing support we’ve had from Scottish Enterprise is fantastic and will enable us to develop our drone products further and access markets such as the offshore wind supply chain.
“We are using our proven, disruptive transmission technology to develop a completely new type of drone that is not available anywhere in the aerospace market. It is already generating significant interest from aerospace companies looking to decarbonise their operations.
“As we commercialise our technology and expand the team from our new base we will really see the business take off.”