Airbus orders first ever automated kite for one of its roros

Airbus has placed a firm order with AirSeas during the international maritime trade fair SMM to purchase the first ever automated kite, named SeaWing.

SeaWing is an automated kite based on parafoil technology used to tow commercial ships.

SeaWing claims to be able to cut fuel costs by 20%. Airbus said the kite will reduce the company’s overall industrial environmental footprint by 8,000 tons of CO2 per year. Airbus owns a fleet of four roro ships to transport aircraft parts around Europe and the USA.

A switch launches or recovers the SeaWing kite which unfolds, operates and refolds autonomously. The system collects and analyses meteorological and oceanic data in real-time. SeaWing adapts to this information in order to optimise its performance as well as ensure maximum safety.

Vincent Bernatets, CEO of AirSeas, said: “We are very proud that Airbus has confirmed its confidence in the SeaWing system after seeing our test results first-hand on their own ship. This first roro vessel installation opens the way for further pioneering deals on container ships, bulkers and ferries. We are glad we can start helping our customers to reduce ship emissions in order to preserve the environment.”

Wind propulsion is a keen topic at this year’s SMM exhibition in Hamburg, bolstered by recent news Maersk Tankers has installed two Norsepower rotor sails on a product tanker.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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