During the Aviation Community Reception, hosted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), the authority selected Wilhelmsen Ships Service to help develop the future Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework for Singapore. It will receive dedicated funding for their shore-to-ship delivery project.
Wilhelmsen is one of only four companies to have received the funding, following a Call-For-Proposal (CFP) by CAAS and the Ministry of Transport.
The CFP aims to support the development of systems and technologies to enable innovations within the wide-ranging use of UAS.
The maximum funding available for each project is SGD1.5 million, or up to 50% of the total project qualified costs.
Improve safety, productivity and efficiency
In the proposal, Wilhelmsen outlined the potential development of UAS for shore-to-ship deliveries. It also stated how UAS delivery could improve safety, productivity and efficiency.
UAS has a quicker response rate and turnaround time compared to traditional launch boat deliveries. Therefore, delivery by UAS has the potential to lower shore-to-ship delivery costs by up to 90%. Also, it removes the safety risks inherent with delivery via launch boat.
Marius Johansen, vice president Commercial, Ships Agency, says the award is important for them to validate the use case of parcel delivery with drones. Moreover, it will also enable them to develop key technological solutions. These include ship localization and precision landing, payload release system, light and reliable private 4G/LTE communications, onshore parcel station and an automated package delivery system.
Wilhelmsen signed a MOU with Airbus at maritime exhibition Posidonia. The MOU is a pilot trial to deliver spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables to vessels in Singapore.
Beginning in Q3 2018, this is the first-time drone technology is deployed in real port conditions, delivering parcels to vessels.
Wilhelmsen has worked on different test business cases for the application of drones in the maritime environment. Finally, it identified shore-to-ship deliveries as the most relevant and scalable for their business.