HHLA Sky receives Red Dot Award for industrial drone X4

20 Jun 2023 11:43 Economy

HHLA Sky, a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), has won the highest Red Dot Award, the “Best of the Best”, for its automated first responder drone X4. Together with a team from the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and Third Element Aviation, HHLA Sky received the award at the Red Dot gala on Monday. Following the German Design Award, the Red Dot Award is the second award in a row for the X4 drone.

The automated X4 drone was developed for industrial use by HHLA Sky together with the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and Third Element. It is distinguished by its robust construction with few moving parts, which considerably reduces the error rate of drone flights. These qualities were also recognised by the Red Dot Award jurors.

In addition to its optimised flight time, the X4 drone was commended for its additional product advantages of easy handling and fast operational readiness. The jurors highlighted the system’s design for its strong focus on cyber and operational security. Moreover, they noted that expendable parts can be quickly exchanged during operation as a result of their modular construction. The jurors called the X4’s appearance “the best aesthetic result that can be achieved with this design.” All in all, the Red Dot Award jury judged the X4 drone to be “one of the best drones in recent years”.

Lars Neumann, Director of Logistics at HHLA, thanked the interdisciplinary team for its extraordinary achievement: “The Red Dot Award is one of the most prestigious prizes for design. It identifies HHLA Sky as a pioneer in the European drone industry. This award is further proof of the success of HHLA’s strategy of developing and promoting technological innovations and new business models for logistics.”

Matthias Gronstedt, Managing Director of HHLA Sky, and Marius Schröder, Managing Director of Third Element Aviation, are pleased about the recognition: “We integrated industrially tested hardware and focused on a modular concept that’s easy to handle. Thanks to the outstanding collaboration of all those involved, the design shows exactly this quality.”

Design professor Thomas Hofmann of the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences confirms that “the X4 is geared towards absolute efficiency and usability.” He developed the X4 design for HHLA Sky along with an interdisciplinary team of industrial designers as well as security, drone and IT experts.

The Red Dot Design Award is considered one of the major design competitions worldwide. The competition is held annually in the disciplines of Product Design, Brands & Communication Design and Design Concept. The X4 won in the Product Design category, which had 7,900 entries from approximately 60 countries. The X4 was the only product to win a Red Dot “Best of the Best” award in the Drones and Action Cameras category.

Matthias Gronstedt adds that its automation capability is what makes the X4 drone technically innovative. “It makes drone deployments scalable. The X4 can form a unit with HHLA Sky’s Integrated Control Center. This centre consists of highly automated mobile robot management software that is cybersecurity-certified in accordance with the IEC 62443 industry standard. It controls and monitors the X4 drones, of which 100 to 200 can fly simultaneously and carry out various tasks at completely different locations. Even without pilots on site.”

This provides demanding industrial and government customers with an automation tool that considerably increases their operational efficiency and is ideally suited to the ongoing digitalisation of our society.

Automated drones
Automated drones like the X4 close gaps in the digitalisation of industry and society. They are no longer necessarily flown by a pilot on site, but remotely via a control centre. These drones support emergency personnel with disaster control, users with the maintenance of industrial equipment, and authorities with the inspection of public infrastructure. Automated drone systems are highly efficient, and requirements for operational safety, cybersecurity and data protection are equally high.

Visitors to the Red Dot Design Museum in Essen can view a model of the X4: https://www.red-dot-design-museum.org/essen

The Red Dot Award distinction.

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