Singapore-based vessel drone delivery company F-drones reports that it has successfully completed its first commercial night drone delivery, carried out at the start of November to the Berge Sarstein, owned by Berge Bulk.
A 3D-printed critical part weighing 3kg was delivered to the vessel by drone at a distance of approximately 5km in just seven minutes, the company said. The payload was the world’s first 3D-printed CE-Certified Lifting Tool from Wartsila, delivered in partnership with Wilhelmsen Group.
Commercial drone deliveries are commonly limited to daylight hours, due to the additional technical and operational challenges associated with night operations, so F-drones sees this night flight as an important step towards enabling on-demand deliveries to vessels on a 24/7 basis for urgent items, such as critical spare parts and medicine.
The company is already currently conducting autonomous test flights of its next-generation proprietary drone, Hyperlaunch, which will be capable of delivering 5kg loads over 50km, to expand its operational reach.
With more than 100 autonomous flights on Hyperlaunch completed since the start of the year the unit has achieved top speeds of 144km/h. F-drones plans to bring this system to market in mid-2021.
Future planned versions of the technology would ultimately be able to deliver 100kg loads over 100km, the company says.
“Traditional means of transport are expensive, slow, labour and carbon intensive. F-drones’ solutions aid the maritime industry to reduce 80% of the costs, time and CO2 emissions. Besides being efficient, delivery drones can also reduce unnecessary human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Nicolas Ang, Co-founder of F-drones.