When we talk about drones, people think about flying objects. But since April 5, small boats are floating through the Port of Amsterdam. Aquatic drones, which are able to film under water. Port of Amsterdam seeks to drive innovation, as aquatic drones may contribute to a safer, smarter, more efficient and cleaner Port in the future. These types of drones could be used, for example, for inspections of ships or piers below the waterline.
The port of Amsterdam has opened a testzone for aquatic drones. This zone is five metres deep and contains of 4,500 square metres. The zone is available amid the bustle of port operations, a set-up that increases the realism and reliability of the tests. Innovation companies who want to test their products can make use of this, but have to apply for an official permit to do so.
In the context of a port, drones are useful mostly for performing measurements in the water, leading to more targeted and smarter applications. AquasmartXL piloted an inspection of piers operated by Vopak. See exactly how they do that in the video below:
Saving time and money using aquatic drones
The advantage of using a sailing drone is that inspection and maintenance time can be shortened drastically. By shortening these times, customers of the Port will have their vessels in operation sooner, saving not only time, but also a lot of money. This will make the Port of Amsterdam also more attractive as a mooring place for large ships.
The testing zone in the Port of Amsterdam will enable companies to speed up the development of the technology, resulting in higher quality aquatic drones, for all kinds of purposes. It is expected that, within ten years, a whole family of drones will be active worldwide, doing inspections, surveillances and measurements.
Other (City) usage of aquatic drones
There are also several projects being conducted in urban areas to investigate ways in which drones may help improve quality of life and quality assurance processes. For one, the Amsterdam-based A.M.S. Institute is developing the Roboat, which is equipped to perform various tasks around the Amsterdam canals. In conjunction with Waternet, inspections can be carried out of water quality or the removal of waste from the water. Drones also allow for more efficient tracking of various waterways in city-centre areas.
*) Picture above the article: Port of Amsterdam
**) Recommended read: ‘ Smart city, city of drones‘