Allseas' giant Pioneering Spirit offshore construction and decommissioning vessel last week provided a stage for what is believed to be the Netherlands’ first drone to vessel delivery.
Mobilizing in Rotterdam’s Alexiahaven for upcoming platform removal projects, the 382 meters long, 124 meters wide vessel last week received a special aerial package containing spare parts.
The drone delivery was a test, set up by Dutch Drone Delta (a consortium promoting the use of drones), the Port of Rotterdam Authority and Allseas. Part of a pilot project, the test aimed to determine whether drones could increase transport efficiency in the Port of Rotterdam.
"This is actually the first drone delivery ever made in the Netherlands to a vessel. This pilot project, which was set up by Dutch Drone Delta, Allseas, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority, is intended to determine whether and how drone deliveries could increase transport efficiency in the port of Rotterdam," the Port of Rotterdam said in a statement.
According to the Port, the airspace over the port area will be safely managed under the slogan ‘Rotterdam, the safest port to fly’, allowing parties to take optimal advantage of new technologies to make the port safer, smarter, and more efficient.
Video 1: First drone delivery to “Pioneering Spirit” on Friday 22 May 2020, as seen from the ground.
Port Authority adviser Ingrid Römers said: "Utilising new technologies allows us to make our port smarter, more streamlined, more efficient and safer. The current pilot project is a prime example: it makes a significant contribution to more efficient transport in general; and in due time, it will specifically help to reduce the pressure on our road network. We intend to safely structure our airspace under the slogan ‘Rotterdam, the safest port to fly’.
"The results of this pilot project can also serve as input for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management when it drafts the required legislation and regulations. This will enable Rotterdam’s port business community to take optimal advantage of these new developments.”
Stephan van Vuuren, one of the people behind the Dutch Drone Delta initiative: “The sky’s the limit when it comes to using drones in the port area. Incident prevention and control, for instance; or water pollution; firefighting; monitoring port operations or damage. Other examples include everything from systems and bridge inspections, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, and deliveries to ships and oil rigs, to the rapid medical transport of blood and human organs. And in the longer term, we may even be seeing heavy freight deliveries and passenger transport! This pilot project in the port of Rotterdam has allowed us to directly demonstrate the added value of drone technology in a complex environment.”
The offshore sector also presents opportunities for drone deliveries, according to Allseas PR manager Jeroen Hagelstein: "As a provider of technical services to the offshore industry, we are continuously pushing the existing technical boundaries. Pioneering Spirit is an example. With this pilot, we want to test whether drones could be an effective means to quickly and efficiently deliver materials to our vessels. Helicopters, for example, are not always available in every location. Drone delivery can be of added value when we are in urgent need of parts which we can’t repair ourselves –for example network switches or computer chips.”
In a social media post this week, Allseas said: "The pilot provided an opportunity for Allseas to test whether drones could be an effective means to deliver materials to our vessels. If helicopters are not available, drone deliveries can be of benefit when we are in urgent need of parts that we cannot repair ourselves such as network switches or computer chips."