GAC has partnered with F-drones, a start-up based in Singapore, to develop large-scale drones for delivering supplies to vessels and offshore platforms.

The drones are expected to be able to hold supplies weighing 100kg and deliver them to vessels located 100km away.

The third prototype of F-drones is currently undergoing testing. The prototype can carry supplies weighing up to 5kg to over a distance of 50km.

The drones are expected to decrease cost, time and manpower to deliver supplies. The drones are completely electric, reducing carbon emissions when performing ship deliveries.

Amid the ongoing global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, drone-assisted supply delivery will reduce social contact and limit the spread of the virus.

GAC Asia Pacific and Indian Subcontinent group VP Lars Bergström said: “Joining forces with F-drones is part of GAC’s drive to embrace technology to develop new ways to meet the demands of the maritime industry we serve.

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“When fully commercialised, drones can be an attractive alternative to launches and helicopters for delivering supplies to vessels, especially for on-demand deliveries.”

The Singapore office of GAC will support F-drones in a test flight to deliver packages in the near future.

F-drones has received the country’s first Beyond-Visual-Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) drone delivery permit and now aims to increase the commercial delivery using an off-the-shelf drone.

F-drones co-founder and CEO Nicolas Ang added: “We are working towards launching our first commercial drone flight of our proprietary drone, which can fly ten times further, later this year.

“The support of GAC and all our partners is vital in helping us make this happen.”

F-drones is also supported by Eastern Pacific Shipping, the Schulte Group, Techstars, Port XL, Entrepreneur First and Hafnia.