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Airbus Skyways drone shore-to-ship trials

Trials of the Skyways parcel drone will involve delivering essential maritime payloads of up to 4 kg to vessels as far as 3 km from the coast.


March 15, 2019
By Wings Staff

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Trials of the Skyways parcel drone will involve delivering essential maritime payloads of up to 4 kg to vessels as far as 3 km from the coast. (Photo: Airbus)
Airbus has begun shore-to-ship trials in Singapore with its Skyways parcel delivery drone within a project called Agency by Air. The company states this marks the first time for drone technology to be deployed in true port conditions to deliver light maritime essentials to working vessels at anchorage.
The maiden shore-to-ship delivery flight was made to the Swire Pacific Offshore’s M/V Pacific Centurion, an anchor handling tug supply vessel, situated 1.5 km from the shoreline of Singapore’s Marina South Pier. It carried 1.5 kg of 3D printed consumables. After depositing its cargo to the shipmaster of M/V Pacific Centurion, the Skyways drone returned to its base, with the entire flight completed within 10 minutes.

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The Skyways trials are being conducted with partner Wilhelmsen Ships Services, a maritime logistics and port services company. During the trials, Airbus’ Skyways drone will lift off from the pier with a payload capability of up to 4 kg, and navigate autonomously along pre-determined aerial corridors to vessels as far as 3 km from the coast.

“We are thrilled to launch the first trial of its kind in the maritime world,” said Leo Jeoh, Airbus’ Skyways lead. “Today’s accomplishment is a culmination of months of intense preparation by our dedicated team, and the strong collaboration with our partner, as we pursue a new terrain in the maritime industry.”

Marius Johansen, VP commercial, ships agency at Wilhelmsen Ships Services, describes the trial port in Singapore as one of the world’s busiest. “Delivery of essential spares, medical supplies and cash to master via launch boat, is an established part of our portfolio of husbandry services, which we provide day in and day out, in ports all over the world,” he said. “Modern technology such as the unmanned aircraft systems, are just a new tool, albeit a very cool one, with which we can push our industry ever forward and improve how we serve our customers.”