Sunday, July 21, 2024
Autonomous drone startup hires ex Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson

Autonomous drone startup hires ex Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson

Simon Thompson has joined Windracers Group, the low-cost platform for autonomous air transport, in a new role as Group Chief Executive Officer. He will initially focus on product R&D, fundraising & global growth of the company.

Windracers was founded in 2017 with a clear mission of using self-flying low-cost drones to deliver humanitarian aid to remote communities. The vision of bringing prosperity to those that need it lives on today.

Its ULTRA UAV – a robust, twin-engine fixed-wing aircraft with a 10-metre wingspan – can take off, fly and land safely without the need of a remote pilot thanks to its proprietary Masterless autopilot system. The multi-purpose drone can carry 100 kg up to 1000 km, with applications ranging from the delivery of parcels and medical supplies to humanitarian aid and the detection of forest fires.

Simon Thompson, incoming Group CEO of Windracers, said: “I’m delighted to be joining this cutting-edge British technology business based in Southampton. Windracers is the low-cost champion of autonomous aviation and we are now very well placed to take this capability global. There is much to do, but the recent work with the Royal Navy and British Antarctic Survey are a clear demonstration of the company’s great potential to benefit many business sectors around the world.”

Stephen Wright, Founder & Executive Chairman of Windracers added “We are focused on making self-flying aircraft affordable, dependable and an everyday reality. Simon’s background in building customer benefiting technology, deep logistics expertise and experience as a FTSE CEO will be invaluable in supporting our mission of taking Windracers’ autonomous drone platform global.”

Simon’s digital expertise built at companies such as Apple & combined with his deep logistics expertise from Ocado PLC & Royal Mail will provide invaluable insight to an already talented team.

Windracers recently expanded into North America, launching the world’s first AI center focused on autonomous aviation with the esteemed Purdue University in Indiana. The center, named AIDA3, is aimed at realizing the full transformational potential of uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) and related technologies by ensuring self-flying aircraft can be operated efficiently and at scale. The company’s ULTRA UAV has completed its first flights in the United States with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.

Windracers provides solutions across five sectors: Mail & Parcel, Humanitarian Assistance, Medical, Defence and Environmental Protection. It has already completed successful flight trials with Royal Mail, Royal Navy, MOD, British Antarctic Survey and Future Flight challenge for UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on


Stay informed. Stay ahead. To get the latest air cargo news and industry trends delivered directly to your inbox, sign up now!

related articles

DHL brings Formula E to the UK

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo and IndiGo CarGo announce partnership with Interline Agreement

Royal Air Maroc Cargo kick-starts its first digital bookings with