Singapore-based startup F-drones has claimed the city state’s first commercial beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) drone delivery.
Last week, one of the company’s drones delivered 2 kg of vitamins over 2.7 km to a ship managed by Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) in just seven minutes.
F-drones is the first company in Singapore to receive an authorisation from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to conduct BVLOS drone deliveries to ships in Singapore, and EPS is the company’s first paying customer. Approval is currently limited to deliveries to ships anchored south of the marina area, and F-drones is already working towards expanding their area of operations.
“Traditional means of transport are expensive, slow, labour and carbon intensive. F-drones’ solutions can help save up to 80% 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.
F-drones is currently using an off-the-shelf drone which can only deliver 5 kg loads over 5km, but has plans to complete the development of a 100 kg, 100 km drone in the second half of 2021.
The company is one of nine companies participating in Eastern Pacific’s dedicated maritime accelerator.
Gil Ofer, head of open innovation at Eastern Pacific Shipping, commented: “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 BW’s Hafnia to develop its offering, and recently completed a test delivery with Bernhard Schulte.
Singapore has become a hot spot for the development of drone delivery to ships, with Wilhelmsen and Airbus using the port to conduct a shore-to-ship pilot project.