The European consortium, Airbus Helicopters, conducted tests of an unmanned aerial vehicle Skyways by delivering cargo from shore to a ship remote from the shoreline. According to the report of the Airbus concern, the tests that were recognized as successful were the first stage in a larger program of testing the transportation of various cargoes from a coastal base to ships that were far from the shore.
At present, the delivery of various kinds of cargo, including spare parts and products, is carried out on ships stationed at a remote outer roadstead, usually produced by boats or even helicopters when it comes to heavy objects. This makes shipping more expensive.
Costs could be reduced by entering the port and mooring, but this may not be possible in the case of a large transit port or in the case of a large-tonnage vessel, which draft may exceed the depth of the port waters.
During the tests held in Marina South in Singapore, Skyways unmanned Octocopter transported 1.5 kilograms of various consumables printed on a 3D printer. Consumables were delivered to the Pacific Centurion tugboat, 1.5 kilometers off the coast.
The device flew to the ship and returned back to the shore in a completely autonomous mode. The flight of the drone passed through the pre-specified air corridors. In total, the delivery of cargo to the ship took ten minutes.
During the next stages of testing, it is planned to increase the cargo weight of Skyways, as well as the range of its flight. At the final stage of testing, the device will have to deliver a cargo weighing 4 kilograms to a ship three kilometers from the coast. Later, the delivery of goods using drones to ships on the roadstead is planned to be made regular.
It should be noted that the Airbus Helicopters consortium has been cooperating with the Department of Civil Aviation of Singapore for several years now. In particular, the National University of Singapore’s campus has a drone system that is used to deliver documents.