Wilhelmsen Ships Service (WSS) has been selected to help develop the future Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework for Singapore and will receive dedicated funding for their shore-to-ship delivery project.
WSS is one of four companies to have received the funding, following a Call-For-Proposal (CFP) aimed 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 SGD 1.5 million (USD 1.1 million), or up to 50% of the total project qualified costs.
Outlining the potential development of UAS for shore-to-ship deliveries, the proposal from Wilhelmsen Ships Service highlighted how UAS delivery could improve safety, productivity and efficiency. Namely, with a quicker response rate and turnaround time compared to traditional launch boat deliveries, Wilhelmsen believes that delivery by UAS has the potential to lower shore-to-ship delivery costs by up to 90%, as well as removing the safety risks inherent with delivery via launch boat.
Commenting on the award, Marius Johansen, Vice President Commercial, Ships Agency, said that it will be important for the company “to validate the use case of parcel delivery with drones, but it will also enable us to develop key technological solutions such as ship localization and precision landing, payload release system, light and reliable private 4G/LTE communications, onshore parcel station and an automated package delivery system.”
The award comes on the back of the company’s MOU with aviation company Airbus, which was signed at maritime exhibition Posidonia. In addition to the CFP award, Wilhelmsen Ships Service are currently working with Airbus’ Skyways on a pilot trial to deliver spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D printed consumables to vessels at anchorage from Singapore port’s Marina South Pier.
Beginning in Q3 2018, this will be the very first-time drone technology that has been deployed in real port conditions, delivering parcels to vessels at anchorage, Wilhelmsen concluded.