A delivery made to the world’s largest vessel, Allseas’ Pioneering Spirit, in the Port of Rotterdam on May 22 was the first drone delivery ever made to a vessel in the Netherlands.
The delivery was a pilot project, set up by the Dutch Drone Delta initiative, Allseas and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, to determine whether and how drone deliveries could increase transport efficiency in the port.
The airspace over the port area will be safely managed under the slogan “Rotterdam, the safest port to fly,” allowing parties to take optimal advantage of new technologies to make the port safer, smarter and more efficient.
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) industry is going through an exciting evolution and new European regulations have cleared the way for new applications that, ultimately, may even include autonomous unmanned freight and passenger transport.
The delivery to Pioneering Spirit is a major first step in this process, as it involved the delivery of an actual package, containing a network switch, following a long-distance flight by the UAV. While in this case, the delivery was still directly monitored by human observers, in the near future, it will be handled entirely beyond the pilot’s physical line of sight.
“Utilizing new technologies allows us to make our port smarter, more streamlined, more efficient and safer,” says Port Authority adviser Ingrid Römers. “The current pilot project is a prime example: it makes a significant contribution to more efficient transport in general; and in due time, it will specifically help to reduce the pressure on our road network.”
According to Allseas PR manager Jeroen Hagelstein, the offshore industry could also benefit from this new delivery option: “As a provider of technical services to the offshore industry, we are continuously pushing the existing technical boundaries. Pioneering Spirit is the example. With this pilot project, we want to test whether drones could be an effective means to quickly and efficiently deliver materials to our vessels. Helicopterx, for example, are not always available on every location. Drone delivery can be of added value when we are in urgent need of parts which we can’t repair ourselves – for example network switches or computer chips.”