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F-Drones completes first commercial drone delivery in Singapore

F Drones apr 29

 

F-drones has completed the first commercial Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone delivery in Singapore on 19 April 2020.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"} The drone delivered 2 kg of vitamins over 2.7 km in 7 minutes, to a ship managed by Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS). EPS, which is one of the world’s largest privately-owned ship managers, is F-drones’ first paying customer.

In Singapore, like in most parts of the world, a BVLOS authorisation or permit is required when operating drones beyond the visual range of drone pilots. Without which, commercial drone delivery services would not be viable. 

F-drones is the first company in Singapore to receive an authorisation from the aviation authority, to conduct BVLOS drone deliveries to ships in Singapore. For now, this is limited to drone deliveries to ships  anchored south of the marina area. This already is a significant milestone for both F-drones and Singapore, as globally, there are only a handful that are operating commercial BVLOS drone deliveries. And F-drones is already working towards expanding their area of operations.

Starting a little more than a year ago, F-drones is a home-grown start-up developing large-scale delivery drones which are fully electric and autonomous. Their goal is to eventually use their proprietary drones, which would be able to send 100kg loads over 100km to ships and offshore platforms. This would help alleviate the pain of sending supplies in marine & offshore applications, which rely on small boats and helicopters. 

“These traditional  means  of  transport  are  expensive,  slow,  labour  and  carbon  intensive.  F-drones’ solutions can help save up to 80 per cent of the costs, time and CO2 emissions. Besides being efficient, delivery drones can also reduce unnecessary human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Nicolas Ang, CEO of F-drones. 

For now, F-drones is using an off-the-shelf drone which can only deliver 5kg loads over 5km. Its CTO, Yeshwanth Reddy, says this is “one of the best drones we can buy off the market.

“As the marine & offshore industry requires much bigger loads to be sent over longer distances, F-drones is innovating on the aircraft at a systems-level.”

F-drones plans to complete the development of its 100kg-100km drone in the second half of 2021. Its latest prototype, which is its third, named as Hyperlaunch, would be able to deliver 5kg loads over 50km to ships. F-drones will be starting commercial operations using Hyperlaunch towards the end of 2020, after more tests and improvements. Hyperlaunch in itself is already an attractive product for the shipping industry.

Gil Ofer, the head of open innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping, stated: "EPS has been part of F-drones' test  deliveries  since  November  2019,  when  they  joined  the  Eastern  Pacific  Accelerator  powered  by Techstars. We believe  their solutions will play a significant role in reducing shipping's overall carbon  footprint. The successful BVLOS delivery is a milestone event, and we are extremely proud to be part of their journey."

F-drones is also working with Hafnia, a product tanker company. Shanker Pillai, head of innovation  &  change  at  Hafnia,  said: “We  are  excited  to  work  with  F-drones  to  develop  drone technology  with  the  aim  to  conduct  remote  delivery  of  small  packages  and  emergency  deliveries  to vessels. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, drones can potentially help to reduce human contact during deliveries. We are glad to be part of this development and are looking forward to the first commercial drone deliveries to our vessels.” {/mprestriction}

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