Many professionals think of drones as little more than sensors in the sky, gathering information in faster, cheaper and safer ways than are otherwise available. Those differences are almost always realized in the context of augmenting or supporting work that’s already being done, by providing technology alternatives. In maritime environments, these differences can be seen directly and indirectly.
In the same way that drones can simply be thought of as sensors in the sky, UAVs can also be considered cameras able to capture pictures and videos from a variety of angles, and aren’t limited to a single location. A single drone could be used to collect more and better info than a series of camera that are placed throughout a given location. When combined with info from stationary cameras, organizations can use drones to enable complete awareness.
Drone technology has already made a major difference on land when it comes to search and rescue efforts, as it seems like drones are helping to find and rescue people every day, while the words “follow the drone to safety” could become a new standard in the space. Drones have been proven to dramatically increases the effectiveness of just about any search and rescue effort, and that difference is especially evident at sea.
As William Pike wrote in his Automation and AI offshore article autonomous technology will be available for vessels ranging from large, oceangoing ships to tugs. Recently, a company announced plans for drone-based delivery to ships at sea. An effort to create a model around delivering maritime essentials to vessels is also already underway.
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