Airbus drone trials first shore-to-ship delivery

Airbus has begun shore-to-ship trials in Singapore with its Skyways parcel delivery drone. This marks the first time drone technology has been deployed in real port conditions, to deliver a variety of small, time-critical maritime essentials to working vessels at anchorage.

The drone was carrying .5kg of 3D printed consumables to the Swire Pacific Offshore’s Anchor Handling Tug Supply vessel ‘M/V Pacific Centurion’. After landing safely on the ship deck and depositing its cargo to the shipmaster, the unmanned air vehicle swiftly returned to its base, with the entire flight completed in ten minutes.

The trials are being undertaken in conjunction with partner Wilhelmsen Ships Services. During the trials, the drone will lift off from the pier with a payload capability of up to 4kg, and navigate autonomously along pre-determined ‘aerial corridors’ to vessels as far as 3km from the coast.

The use of unmanned aircraft systems in the maritime industry paves the way for possible enlargement of the existing ship agency services’ portfolio, speeding up deliveries by up to six times, lowering delivery costs by up to 90%, reducing carbon footprint, and significantly mitigating risks of accidents associated with launch-boat deliveries.


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