VIDEO: First night drone delivery to a ship

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Drone delivered a 3D printed critical part, weighing 3 kilograms over 5 kilometers within 7 minutes.

Singapore-headquartered start-up F-drone reports that it has successfully completed the first commercial night drone delivery to a ship.

The delivery was made on November 1 when a drone delivered a 3D printed critical part weighing 3 kilograms over 5 kilometers within 7 minutes. Delivered to the Berge Sarstein, owned by Berge Bulk, the payload was the world’s first 3D printed CE-certified Lifting Tool from Wärtsilä, sent in partnership with Wilhelmsen Group.

Globally, commercial drone deliveries are limited to daylight hours, due to the additional technical and operational challenges associated with night operations. F-drones’ achievement is a major step forward in enabling on-demand deliveries to vessels 24/7.

It opens up the possibility of delivering urgent items, such as critical spare parts and medicines, within minutes. It also promises to be a safer option than taking a boat out and sending items up a pilot ladder/gangway at night.

F-drones is already conducting autonomous test flights of its proprietary drone – Hyperlaunch — which will be capable of delivering 5 kg loads over 50 km, expanding its operational reach. The company has completed more than 100 autonomous flights on Hyperlaunch since the start of the year. F-drones says it has the ability to carry the largest payload size in its class and has achieved top speeds of 144 km/h. The company plans to bring this capability to market in mid 2021.

Hyperlaunch is a scaled down version of a planned drone that would ultimately be able to deliver 100 kg loads over 100 km.

“Traditional means of transport are expensive, slow, labour and carbon intensive. F-drones’ solutions aid the maritime industry to reduce 80% of the costs, time and CO2 emissions,” says F-drones co-founder Nicolas Ang. “Besides being efficient, delivery drones can also reduce unnecessary human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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