Transferring stuff to ships is a surprisingly ticklish business: coming in to dock is expensive, and trying to transfer supplies from a small barge to a 30m container ship is equally not fun. But dropping off small, important items by drone? Sounds about right.
Maersk is the Danish shipping giant that dominates the market in sending 12m steel containers around the globe. For it, pesky things like bringing food to humans has traditionally gotten in the way of efficient logistics, so the company is trying to use new technologies to make its business faster and cheaper.
To this end, Maersk conducted the world’s first shore-to-ship drone delivery. According to GCaptain, the test took place near Kalundborg in Denmark, and the proof-of-concept involved dropping a small parcel a couple metres down onto the deck of a container ship. The drone in question was made by French company Xamen.
From a technological standpoint, flying a small payload a short distance and dropping it on deck is the opposite of revolutionary — anyone with access to a few thousand dollars, a sense of direction and some string could do the same. But as a trial for future deliveries with more powerful drones, it’s an interesting concept that should have barge drivers worried.