Amsterdam Trials Nautical Drones

3D render of a drone flying above the sea against a sunset sky

The Port of Amsterdam has launched a pilot of the Telemetron, a sailing drone designed to explore the potential of drone technology in port maintenance and wider nautical operations.

The project is part of a collaboration between the Port, the Dutch Customs Office, Seabed and Maritime Robotics to gain experience in new technologies in the maritime industry.

Initial experiments took place in the week commencing July 8 and were the first steps in examining the potential of the technology and what steps must be taken to make it fully commercially viable.

A recent Port Technology technical paper looked at the future of drones

The tests included examining the inspection process of marginal ships – vessels of which the depth is such that they require an exemption for passing through the Noordersluis lock.

What is the potential for drones in port and terminal operations? Find out by reading an exclusive Port Technology insight

Specifically, it involved a salt measurement at Forteiland and reading out six marks on the hull of the ship, and, according to the Port, the tests are well-suited for drone technology.

The pilot took place amongst regular shipping traffic, which also meant the Telemetron was manned during the sailing moved semi-autonomously.

Joose Zuidema, project manager of Port of Amsterdam, had this to say: “Safety is our number one priority, hence our decision to have a boatmaster on board the Telemetron during the test phase.

“We can test the autonomous sailing in a subsequent phase. Together with the various parties, we want to use this pilot to gain experience and insights into the possibilities, and so be prepared for what the future brings. Foresight is the essence of management.”

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