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For the first time, autonomous drone delivery to vessels will be tested in order to investigate the potential deployment and commercialization of UAS for maritime deliveries. Launching at Singapore port’s Marina South Pier, Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Airbus will be piloting the delivery of spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables via Airbus’ Skyways UAS to vessels at anchorage.

Marking the very first time, the viability of autonomous drone delivery to vessels has been put to the test in hectic, real-world port conditions,

According to Wilhelmsen website, drone delivery is a perfect fit for their agency business. They organize the delivery of essential spares, medical supplies and cash to master via launch boat day in and day out all over the world. However, delivery by drone is much more cost effective, quicker, and frankly safer for all involved. Costing on average ninety percent less than launch boats, they importantly remove the risks inherently involved with making launch deliveries and also have negligible environmental impact.

Airbus will take care of all the corresponding aviation approvals, and the running and maintenance of the UAS and its control systems. Airbus said the collaboration gives them a unique test bed where they can trial, refine and shape the future of shore-to-ship drone technologies.

The partnership will first see an initial two-week pilot trial with deliveries to ships anchored in Singapore’s eastern anchorage. A command center and a delivery center will be set up at the pier to facilitate the deliveries, with an initial delivery range of up to 3km from the shoreline. A second delivery station will be positioned at an open space in Marina South to extend delivery coverage to more anchorage vessels.