_92617668_martek_drones_2CEO Paul Luen said the drones, which feature thermal imaging cameras, would be sent 50km offshore.

“To carry out this work so far offshore it has to be able to fly for up to six hours and carry a payload of up to 10kg. It will also have to withstand all weathers, including gale-force winds and heavy rain. It’s effectively a mini-helicopter.”

Martek Marine, a drone company in Rotherham [UK] has won a 10 million euro (£8.5m) contract to monitor the pollution in Europe’s rivers and seas. The company will deploy two of its two-metre long drones to measure the sulphur and CO2 levels emitted from commercial ships.

The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will use the data to check if the ships meet current EU standards. Airborne sulphur is a major cause of acid rain, harming crops and buildings.

As an offshore sailor, I can only imagine the challenges of conducting drone missions off the European coast, particularly in the North Sea.One assumes that the UAVs will be deployed and recovered at sea but who knows.
So I wanted to learn more about the company, Martek Marine, which is located some 80 miles east of Liverpool. A dedicated UAV page on their website notes that:

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are becoming incredibly useful tools for marine and offshore companies. Whether used on a ship for safer inspections, inside confined spaces for gas detection, or even for ship-to-shore or ship-to-rig deliveries, there’s a drone for the task.

The complexities of the harsh marine environment have, until recently, prevented shipping operators and offshore companies from making the most of UAV technology. However the latest advances mean marine-specific drones have been developed. Superior qualities of UAVs designed for marine use include:

  • Unique drone builds to enable the safe use of a drone in a tank

  • Enhanced stability for safe use in high winds, rain and snow

  • Premium materials not affected by salt water

  • Greater power to cope with heavier payloads and unstable air pressure

  • Enhanced endurance UAVs for maritime reconnaissance

  • Waterproof housing for all essential components

  • Water belly landings as well as shore and vessel based landing

  • Capability for marine-specific payloads such as hydrographic LiDAR equipment.

Pretty clear that this company has put a good deal of thought into how to operate in this demanding environment. And whether they or the client thought it up, it is a clever idea because monitoring the ships whilst they are making way means that the power plants are under load. Beyond the challenges of operating on the ocean, are the challenges of assigning and managing targets and reporting the results.

read more at bbc.com

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