The drone continues its advance from novelty to serious commercial usage in shipping with the signing of an MOU at Posidonia between Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Airbus. The joint venture will be launching the spare parts and document delivery drone from Singapore port’s Marina South Pier in Q3 2018.
As well as spare parts and documents, the drone will carry water test kits and 3D printed consumables via Airbus’ Skyways unmanned air system (UAS) to vessels at anchorage.
The Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Airbus UAS project agreement covers a joint ambition to establish a framework for cooperation between the Parties, with the aim of investigating the potential deployment and commercialisation of UAS for maritime deliveries.
Marius Johansen, vice president commercial, Ships Agency at Wilhelmsen Ships Service is confident that with Airbus onboard, his agency team’s long-term drone delivery aspirations will be fulfilled.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Airbus. When we announced last year that we were pursuing drone delivery, we were greeted with a fair amount of scepticism, but our collaboration with Airbus shows we really do mean business,” he said at Posidonia.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service has been selected to help develop the future Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework for Singapore and will receive dedicated funding for their shore-toship delivery project.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service is one of only four companies to have received the funding, following a Call-For-Proposal (CFP) by CAAS and the Ministry of Transport.
The CFP aims to support the development of systems and technologies to enable innovations within the wide-ranging use of UAS.
Commenting on the award, Marius Johansen, vice president commercial, ships agency said, "Only weeks after announcing the Airbus partnership, this award almost feels a bit overwhelming.
In itself it will be important for us to validate the use case of parcel delivery with drones, but it will also enable us to develop key technological solutions such as ship localization and precision landing, payload release system, light and reliable private 4G/LTE communications, onshore parcel station and an automated package delivery system”.