Wilhelmsen Ships Service has been selected to help develop Singapore’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) regulatory framework, and will receive dedicated government funding for its shore-to-ship drone delivery project.
In June, the company announced that it is working with Airbus on a pilot to deliver spare parts, documents, water test kits and 3D-printed consumables to ships at anchorage in Singapore. The scheme, which is due to launch in the third quarter of this year, marks the first time drones will be deployed in real-world port conditions.
Wilhelmsen Ships Service is one of four companies to have received funding from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Ministry of Transport following a call-for-proposal (CFP). The CFP aims to support development of innovative systems and technologies in the field of UAS.
In its winning bid, Wilhelmsen outlined the safety, productivity and efficiency benefits of using drones to carry small items from shore to ship. The company believes that UAS could cut the cost of these trips by up to 90 per cent, while removing the safety risks inherent in launch boat deliveries.
"Only weeks after announcing the Airbus partnership, this award almost feels a bit overwhelming,” says Marius Johansen, VP commercial at Wilhelmsen Ships Agency. “In itself it will be important for us 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.”