Airbus on Friday began trials of drones delivering parcels to ships anchored offshore in Singapore, as the high-tech city rolls out the devices for an array of tasks.
Singapore is aiming to use drones for parcel delivery, inspecting buildings, providing security and other jobs, and is working with companies and regulators to put the ambitious plan into action.
European aerospace giant Airbus said it completed the world’s first shore-to-ship package delivery using a drone. It involved the device carrying a 1.5 kilo (3.3-pound) parcel to a vessel anchored 1.5 kilometres (about a mile) from the coast.
The drone took off from a pier and landed safely on the ship’s deck, deposited its cargo and returned to base, with the entire flight completed within 10 minutes, Airbus said in a statement.
Airbus has partnered with maritime logistics and port services firm Wilhelmsen Ships Services for the trials.
The drones involved can carry up to four kilos of cargo and navigate autonomously along a pre-determined flight corridor to vessels as far as three kilometres from the coast.
At the moment, deliveries to ships anchored offshore are carried out by small boats.
The use of drones can make deliveries to ships up to six times faster, lower delivery costs by up to 90 percent, cut companies’ carbon footprints and is safer, Airbus said.