Wilhelmsen Ships Service has teamed up with Airbus to bring drone deliveries to the Port of Singapore.
The companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in June 2018 to investigate and develop an Unmanned Air System (UAS) for maritime deliveries.
Tests, which are due to begin in Q3 2018, will focus on spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables to vessels at anchorage.
If successful, the UAS could make turnaround times six times faster, and potentially lower ship-to shore delivery costs by as much as 90%.
Marius Johansen, Vice-President Commercial, Ships Agency at Wilhemsen said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be working with a forward thinking, industry leader like Airbus.
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“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.
“As an outward looking company, eager to utilise technology to help improve our customers’ experiences, drone delivery is a perfect fit for our agency business.
“Part of our standard husbandry services, we organise 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.”
Leo Jeoh, of Airbus’ Skyways programme, commented: “This collaboration with Wilhelmsen, the first of its kind in the region, gives us a unique test bed where we can trial, refine and shape the future of shore-to-ship drone technologies.
“This also serves as an exciting opportunity to bring together the strong domain expertise of both Airbus and Wilhelmsen, to pioneer the future of UAS in the maritime industry.”