Norway launches drone cargo project

Four Norwegian technology companies are collaborating to use unmanned helicopters to carry cargo between offshore vessels and offshore installations.

The weather is a big challenge when cargo is going to be lifted with a crane between offshore vessels, rigs and other installations. The operations depend on wind, visibility, waves etc. Weather conditions at sea often lead to delays in delivering cargo, goods and equipment for offshore installations.

Now, four Norwegians technology companies have set themselves a goal of finding an alternative solution to these challenges. The goal of the “Safer Logistics from Unmanned Logistics Helicopter” research project is to develop systems for using unmanned helicopters, also known as drones, for transporting goods between offshore vessels and offshore installations at sea.

Griff Aviation develops and manufactures drones that have capacity to carry heavy cargo. Should drones be an alternative to conventional crane lift, the logistics helicopter must be able to operate safely under challenging weather conditions.

Norut leads the project and has vast experience in developing autonomous control systems for unmanned airplanes, as well as operating them in challenging weather conditions in northern waters. The offshore logistics helicopter must have a high degree of automation where departure, landing and delivery of cargo can take place on a vessel at sea. The project draws upon expertise from the research community at the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at the The Arctic University of Norway in Narvik, which has extensive experience in automated drone operations.

STABLE delivers advanced stabilization technology and will solve one of the main challenges of the research project: To develop the control system systems so the drones can start and operate from a moving, maritime platform. The company’s role in the project is to develop a stable platform for take-off and landing the logistics helicopter. The platform is to be placed in a container on the ships deck, which also acts as the drone’s hangar between the flight missions.


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