Wilhelmsen delivers from shore by drone
Wilhelmsen Ships Service, in partnership with Airbus, has deployed drone technology in real-time port conditions, delivering time-critical items to working vessels at anchorage.
Equipped with 3D printed consumables from Wilhelmsen's micro-factory, the Airbus Skyways drone lifted off from Marina South Pier in Singapore and travelled 1.5km to Eastern Working Anchorage. It deposited its 1.5kg cargo on the deck of the Swire Pacific Offshore’s anchor handling tug supply vessel, M/V Pacific Centurion before returning to base.
Though small drone delivery trials from tugboat to ship have been conducted before, shore-to-ship delivery of this range and scope has never been explored prior to this trial.
Commenting on the successful first delivery flight, Marius Johansen, vice-president commercial, Wilhelmsen Ships Agency said: “The now proven, seamless operation of drone deliveries from shore-to-ship, in one of the world’s busiest ports, proves the hard work, investment and faith we, and indeed our partners, placed in this project over the past two years was not misplaced”.
Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) can potentially reduce delivery costs by up to 90% and Wilhelmsen predicts that delivery by drone rather than launch boat will grow.
The ongoing 'Agency by Air' pilot project will focus initially on vessels at anchorage 1.5km from the pier before the flight range is gradually extended to as far as 3km from shore.
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