Automated Drones in the Port – Controlled with Highest Safety Levels

Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) coordinates the intermodal transport of goods and commodities between shore and sea – maintaining the highest safety standards for people and machines. This knowledge has been used by the Group’s subsidiary HHLA Sky to develop a multi-award-winning control technology that allows drones to fly safely over the port area and far beyond.

For HHLA, the drones inspect container gantry cranes at the terminals, among other things. The unmanned aerial vehicles are monitored from a control station, which is used to select the right drone for the job, plan the flight path, specify safety protocols, and finally launch and automatically execute the flight. The control station is an in-house development that can simultaneously control and monitor more than 100 drones in different missions. This comprehensive and industry-ready IoT platform, can also interact intelligently with other systems, machines or mobile robots in parallel.

The system and the possible application scenarios will be presented at the EUROPEAN DRONE FORUM on November 7-8 in Cologne. Leading manufacturers and operators from small, specialized UAS to logistics drones and large air cabs will meet at the conference. The industry will discuss the challenges and opportunities in regular drone operations with international aviation authorities and the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA.

Jens Meier, CEO of the HPA pointed out the benefits of this technology, “If storm surges, accidents or other unforeseen incidents occur, flying, swimming or self-propelled robots are on site much faster to provide high-resolution video and photo material for an accurate picture of the situation and this gain in time can be decisive in an emergency.”

In addition, they make the maintenance and expansion of the port infrastructure much more efficient, for example in the case of facilities that are very difficult to access, take a lot of time or are dangerous, according to Meier.

With HHLA Sky’s solution, all connected processes are mapped and controlled securely, according to Matthias Gronstedt, the company’s managing director.”

In addition, the HPA can use mobile and teleoperated sensors to collect a wide variety of data, the analysis of which helps to use resources optimally,” pointed out Gronstedt.

The HPA applications are networked as part of the technology partnership, which means that previously complex processes can be streamlined and devices can be operated more efficiently.

“The next phase of product development for our new service Drone-as-a-Service is on its way with this partnership,” pointed out Phanthian Zuesongdham, head of Division Port Process Solution at HPA, who added that the two parties will start this year the pilot operation of it.



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