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Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore supports use of drones for trial maritime delivery

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
(MPA) recently
announced
that it is pleased to support the pilot trial of
deliveries from shore to vessels anchored off the coast with an unmanned aerial
system (UAS) in the second half of 2018. 

The experimental project to deliver spare parts, documents, water test kits and
3D printed consumables via UAS to vessels at Singapore’s anchorage. The
delivery of goods from the Singapore coast to ships anchored at bay is commonly
known as ‘shore-to-ship’.

As announced, the project is a collaboration between Wilhelmsen
Ship Service and Airbus. This trial is a culmination of over a year of planning
and collaboration between the two companies, with support from the MPA.
 
“We are pleased to support Wilhelmsen and Airbus in their pilot trial as one of
the new initiatives under the MPA Living Lab. MPA will provide a suitable
test-bed in the Port of Singapore for both companies to test their systems at
sea and enable us to develop the regulatory framework for drone deliveries. The
use of such innovative technology could help improve productivity and free up
manpower and resources that could be deployed for other value-added jobs,” said
Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA.

Skyways
is an experimental project aimed at developing a safe and commercially viable
aerial unmanned delivery system for use in dense urban cities in its first
trial phase. The UAS is an innovative system-of-systems that includes aviation
standard UAVs, ground control stations, air navigation systems, and operational
and maintenance procedures. The project is being led by a team in Singapore,
where plans are progressing towards the launch of a first trial system at the
National University of Singapore (NUS) in July.

The initial two-week shore-to-ship pilot trial will begin in
the third quarter of 2018, delivering parcels to vessels anchored off the coast
of Singapore – one of the world’s busiest ports. Command and delivery centres
will be set up at the pier to facilitate the deliveries, with an initial
delivery range of up to 3km from the shoreline.

A second delivery station will be positioned at an open
space in Marina South to extend delivery coverage to more anchored vessels.

Unmanned autonomous drone deliveries enable a reduction in
manpower and increased productivity compared to launch boat deliveries. With a
quicker response rate and turnaround time of up to 6 times, it has the
potential to lower shore-to-ship delivery costs by up to 90%. 

 As reported
last year
, the MPA set up the Living Lab to provide a technology
partnership platform with sufficient scale and real operating conditions in the
Port of Singapore, for technology providers and industry partners to plug into
for the development and pilot of innovative solutions for the maritime sector.

The use of robotics and autonomous systems, including drones,
is one of the key focus areas of the Living Lab. Other areas of focus include
data analytics and intelligent systems, smart and innovative structures, and
safety and security.