Emergency Response

Everybody knows the mantra: ‘In case of an emergency, stay calm.’ For first responders we might add ‘stay calculated.’ As life-threatening fires and traffic accidents progress, it is vital that firefighters and other emergency personnel know how to best respond. That’s where we come in: we fly over.

Avy Aera VTOL drone for Port of Rotterdam

Successful pilot with long-range drone in the port of Rotterdam

Last week, a section of the quay at the Yangtze Canal was transformed into a drone port to demonstrate a long-range drone from the Dutch company Avy. Several drone flights were carried out during the week above the Amaliahaven, Arianehaven and Alexiahaven.

Tests were also carried out on the camera used during drone flights to monitor port activities and inspections of port assets - such as quay walls - of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. The test and demo week is part of the 'Drone Port of Rotterdam' innovation programme and is consistent with the Port Authority's ambition to test new technologies that make the port safer, smarter and faster.

Drone port

During the week of 25 October, a section of the quay at the Yangtze Canal was converted into a drone port. A construction site hut was set up as a Command Centre and an Avy station was installed on the quay. This docking station allows for autonomous operations and immediate deployment.

At the Harbour Coordination Centre in the World Port Centre, a live view of the drone images was streamed to assess the added value of the drone images compared to the images from fixed cameras in the Port.

For the Harbour Master's Division, the pilot focused on sea and inland waterway inspections such as bunkering, water pollution, board-to-board transshipment, zoning hazardous substances, shore-to-board transshipment, air pollution (smoke/soot) and repairs on board ships. For example, if a drone reveals an open tank lid, it could possibly indicate illegal degassing by ships and an investigation could be carried out.

Avy team with Port of Rotterdam and Avy Aera drone for Emergency Services
Setting up the Avy Aera for its mission

Long-range drone

During the pilot, the Dutch company Avy used its Avy Aera drone. This drone can cover longer distances and reach higher speeds, so that the entire port can be covered with two to three devices and in the event of an incident the drone can reach the location very quickly. This makes it interesting for various types of activities by the Harbour Master's Division; handling incidents, smarter patrols, inspection-supervision of vessel activities, port security and also traffic handling.

Demonstration events were included for interested parties who were invited; many people took advantage of these with great interest; government departments such as the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, rail and network operators, as well as logistics service providers, agencies and shipping companies.

The Avy Aera drone that was tested can also carry refrigerated medical supplies. In the future, new developments will be examined and tested, such as the transport of parts and cargo samples so that they can be transported to ships in the future.

Avy Aera VTOL flying over Port of Rotterdam
Avy Aera drone taking off

Future

The test and demo week is part of the 'Drone Port of Rotterdam’ innovation programme, which involves testing the deployment and use of various drones. The next long-term drone operation will follow in early 2022; flights will be carried out on a weekly basis over a period of five months. External parties can also submit test requests for the drones to be deployed.

In the coming period, the new Avy Aera will be used in combination with the Avy Docking Station. The drone station will then be installed at the Rotterdam Pilotage on the Pistoolhaven for testing, further expanding the flight zone. A new aspect of this operation involves the joint use of the same airspace by pilot helicopters and drones; something that must be clearly and safely regulated in the future.

Avy Aera's demo flights for the Port of Rotterdam

Watch the official after movie of our demonstration flights with the Port of Rotterdam.

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