ITOCHU Announces Establishment of a Capital and Business Alliance with a German Drone Company Wingcopter.

March 29, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU has invested in drone development and manufacturing company Wingcopter GmbH (headquartered in Weiterstadt, Germany; Tom Plümmer, CEO; hereinafter “Wingcopter”), established a capital and business alliance with Wingcopter, through ITOCHU Europe PLC (headquartered in London, Britain; Takanori Morita, CEO). ITOCHU and Wingcopter had concluded a Sales Partner Agreement in December 2021 and both parties decided to further strengthen its relationship for growing business opportunities.

In 2017, Wingcopter was established with the corporate missions of improving the lives of people in countries and regions around the world through its drone business. Since its foundation, Wingcopter has focused on the commercialization of drone delivery, mainly in the field of medical products, through the development of a network for the delivery of medical supplies in Africa. It is conducting demonstration experiments in various parts of the world, including Japan. Going forward, Wingcopter will advance initiatives for the commercialization of the delivery of foodstuffs and daily necessities, in addition to medical supplies, making the most of the stable, high-speed, long-distance flights that characterize the W198*1 drone under development.

Drones are expected to contribute to the resolution of an array of social issues as a means of fulfilling logistics needs in Japan with an expansion of drone applications expected to follow the lifting of a ban on Level 4 flights (flights beyond visual line of sight in populated areas)*2 which the government seeks to achieve by the end of fiscal 2022.

ITOCHU aims to realize business transformation by shifting to a market-oriented perspective and enhance our contribution to and engagement with the SDGs through business activities as stated in the basic policies in its Medium-Term Management Plan. Based on those policies, ITOCHU's goal is to help achieve the SDGs through the evolution of business models, maintaining the infrastructure supporting human lives, and protecting the environment. Through this capital and business alliance and Sales Partner Agreement with Wingcopter, ITOCHU will expand its sales of the W198 tilt-rotor*3 drone and build a drone delivery network, aiming to address the diverse needs and issues of society.

  • *1W198
    The official name of the drone is Wingcopter198. It has a tilt-rotor mechanism that was developed and manufactured in-house by Wingcopter. The fixed-wing drone is capable of autonomous vertical takeoff, landing and hovering, similar to a multicopter. Additionally, the model's triple-drop functionality enables delivery to three points on a single flight.
  • *2Level 4 flights (flights beyond visual line of sight in populated areas)
    Unmanned aircraft (drone) flights over populated areas, such as urban centers, without constant visual monitoring. These flights are uniformly banned under the current Civil Aeronautics Act.
  • *3Tilt-rotor
    Tilt-rotor technology enables vertical or short-distance takeoffs and landings by tilting the drone's rotors (rotating airfoils similar to propellers).

About Wingcopter GmbH

Company name Wingcopter GmbH
Representative Tom Plümmer
Head office Feldstrasse 16,64331 Weiterstadt Hessen,Germany
Established 2017
Capital 33,095EUR
Number of employees Approx. 130

(Reference) W198 model developed and manufactured by Wingcopter