Launching at Singapore port's Marina South Pier in quarter three 2018, Wilhelmsen Ships Service and Airbus will be piloting the delivery of spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables via Airbus' Skyways unmanned air system (UAS) to vessels at anchorage. With the signing of an MOU at maritime trade show Posidonia, the Maritime 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 commercialization of UAS for maritime deliveries use cases. 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, Marius Johansen, VP Commercial, Ships Agency at Wilhelmsen Ships Service is confident with Airbus now onboard his agency team's long-term drone delivery aspirations will be fulfilled. "We are absolutely thrilled to be working with a forward thinking, industry leader like 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".
UAVs are tackling everything from disease control to vacuuming up ocean waste to delivering pizza, and more. Drone technology has been used by defense organizations and tech-savvy consumers for quite some time. However, the benefits of this technology extends well beyond just these sectors. With the rising accessibility of drones, many of the most dangerous and high-paying jobs within the commercial sector are ripe for displacement by drone technology. The use cases for safe, cost-effective solutions range from data collection to delivery. And as autonomy and collision-avoidance technologies improve, so too will drones' ability to perform increasingly complex tasks. According to forecasts, the emerging global market for business services using drones is valued at over $127B. As more companies look to capitalize on these commercial opportunities, investment into the drone space continues to grow. A drone or a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) typically refers to a pilotless aircraft that operates through a combination of technologies, including computer vision, artificial intelligence, object avoidance tech, and others. But drones can also be ground or sea vehicles that operate autonomously.
This article was first published on the IEC e-tech website. Rapid advances in technology are revolutionizing the roles of aerial, terrestrial and maritime robotic systems in disaster relief, search and rescue (SAR) and salvage operations. Robots and drones can be deployed quickly in areas deemed too unsafe for humans and are used to guide rescuers, collect data, deliver essential supplies or provide communication services. The first reported use of SAR robots was to explore the wreckage beneath the collapsed twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York after the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Drones and robots have been used to survey damage after disasters such as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in Japan in 2011 and the earthquakes in Haiti (2010) and Nepal (2015).
DARPA Image of a drone ship vessel called Sea Hunter, which is not the new LUSV/MUSV. Those do not exist yet. The Navy is building two new large drone ships to coordinate synchronized attacks, perform command and control across fleets of Unmanned Surface Vessels and conduct high-risk maritime missions such as anti-submarine operations, mine countermeasures, surface warfare, and forward-deployed surveillance. The new vessels, now in early stages of conceptual development, are intended to perform both manned and unmanned operations while networked to a smaller fleet of multi-mission USVs, Capt. Pete Small, Program Manager, Unmanned Maritime Systems, Naval Sea Systems Command, told reporters at the Surface Naval Association Symposium.