January 3, 2018 10:00 AM, EST

Workhorse Spins Off Helicopter Unit, Keeps Delivery Drone

A Workhorse drone test Workhorse Group

Electric vehicle manufacturer Workhorse Group plans to gain about $5 million as it spins off its SureFly personal helicopter subsidiary into a separate publicly traded company and puts greater focus on its automotive and drone business.

The two-seat SureFly is intended for trips of 70 miles or less and can be flown with a passenger or with cargo. Workhorse announced the SureFly recently received an Experimental Airworthiness Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration. Cincinnati-based Workhorse said after the spin off it will retain a portion of SureFly common stock along with certain assets of its package-express related HorseFly drone.

Workhorse last year tested its drone with UPS Inc. in Lithia, Fla., and the logistics giant reported the HorseFly successfully delivered a package from a delivery truck to a home and returned to the vehicle.

In the test, the drone docked on top of the truck and a cage on its underside was suspended into the vehicle. The driver inside loaded a package into the cage and pressed a button on a touch screen, sending the drone on a preset autonomous route to the delivery address. The HorseFly drone has a 30-minute flight time and can carry a package weighing up to 10 pounds. It recharges while it’s docked on the truck.

As part of the SureFly spin-off, Workhorse entered into an agreement with a group of its existing investors that called for the investors to pay $5 million for notes and warrants that can be exchanged into SureFly stock.