Maersk hopes drones can deliver sweet savings

The technology is cool, but enterprise adoption requires more than drones for drones' sake

Shipping giant Maersk Group made headlines earlier this year when it used a drone to deliver a bucket of cookies to a tanker at sea. That was just the beginning of an effort the company thinks could dramatically change its business.

The company is evaluating ways to expand its use of drones and plans a bigger test later this year, said Markus Kuhn, a supply chain manager at Maersk, at the Drones Data X conference in San Francisco.

In January, the company made a drone fly 250 meters from one of its barges to a tanker and drop off a batch of cookies. It's now looking for a drone-making partner for a test flight that would haul a 10-kilogram package for 10 kilometers.

That test would illustrate a key use case for Maersk, that of resupplying its fleet of tankers, oil platforms, container ships and other craft. The roughly 22-pound cargo in the next test would serve as a key proof of concept for getting more important gear to remote ships. That weight would cover a lot of the important equipment deliveries it makes to ships.

Looking further out, Maersk could use drones to cut the cost of operating its wide swath of businesses, which include a massive shipping line, a port logistics company and a oil platform operations company. Its interest in the burgeoning uncrewed vehicle market, including both drones and underwater craft, is also a vote of confidence for a nascent industry that will need support from consumers and businesses alike.

By using drones for resupply, Maersk might be able to avoid sending an entire ship on an equipment delivery to a tanker, something it sometimes has to do in order to comply with regulations about protecting explosive cargo.

But that's not the only thing Maersk might use drones for. Kuhn said the company sees a lot of opportunities to use drones for inspecting equipment, including using them to reach places that are hard for humans to reach.

However, Kuhn isn't interested in technology for its own sake. Each use of a drone has to be cheaper than whatever method Maersk is using now, he said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?