Maersk Tankers is testing delivery to vessels on drones that have been certified for explosive environments.
Costs for a barge to bring small parts, medicines and mail are on average USD 1,000 and can be higher. That means, drone use could with the current payload bring potential savings of USD 3,000-9,000 per vessel per year, Maersk Tankers estimates.
The next steps for Maersk Tankers and the Maersk Group are to evaluate the test findings. Drone technology is developing rapidly and the Group Technical Innovation Board has slated this area as one of five projects to commence in 2016 as part of an effort to develop a pipeline and culture of early-stage technical innovation.
This is a very interesting use case – easy to imagine that every ship will carry one or more drones for a variety of applications. With a electronic beacon or target the drones should be able to fly and land themselves reducing costs even further.