Niels Vanlaer, Business Continuity Manager of Port of Antwerp wants to make the port a real ‘smart port’ with the use of drones, among other things: “We can already use these drones perfectly for enforcement within the port area today: security, inspections, berth management … These are just a few of the many options available to us now. In addition, thanks to the YACOB installation, we get a better overview of current and unforeseen situations. This includes live images from the docks, monitoring floating debris, detecting oil leaks and the associated oil pollution.”
The driving force behind the hardware and software, that makes this innovation possible, is DroneMatrix, a technology company that is very successful with state-of-the-art drone technology. Lander Vanwelkenhuyzen, General Manager explains their steep ambitions: “We recently made the news through our partnership with Proximus and SkeyDrone in which we want to make drone-B2B applications easily accessible via the so-called 6th NeTWorK. What we are realizing together with the Port of Antwerp today is actually a fully operational precursor to what will be possible with that innovative ‘drones-as-a-service’ platform.”
“After an intensive preliminary phase in which we mainly wanted to successfully complete several demo-setups and in which we obtained the necessary approvals from the aviation authorities, it is now time to get started with concrete business cases,” says Vanwelkenhuyzen. “The possibilities for deploying an automatic drone in the port area are endless. Increased safety, extensive inspection options and greatly improved “situational awareness” that can lift the use of human interventions to a higher effectiveness … are just a few of the advantages of our YACOB technology. Our hardware and software developments have reached a certain maturity, so that we can now really get started.”
DroneMatrix has also tested the use of drones for the Antwerp fire brigade and police in the ‘Drones4Antwerp‘ project in the past, with success.
Vanwelkenhuyzen: “As a Smart Port, the port of Antwerp is creating a truly innovative platform here for the entire port community, offering companies the opportunity to roll out innovative solutions with drones. The extensive cooperation with the superfast network of Proximus (and the emergence of 5G) and the aviation know-how of SkeyDrone, in combination with a web platform that is open to integrations from third parties, means that many opportunities will arise for innovative service providers.”
Ports are an important focus for DroneMatrix. The possibilities for deploying an automatic drone in these areas are endless. Increased safety, extensive inspection options and greatly improved “situational awareness” that can lift the use of human interventions to a higher effectiveness … these are just a few of the advantages of our YACOB technology, developed in Belgium. Our hardware and software developments have reached maturity, so that we can now really get started. Over the next few months, DroneMatrix will launch several early adopter programs that will deploy this technology for the first time in an industrially scalable manner.
We must also emphasize that this project could not have been realized without the financial support of the Belgian province of Limburg and the Flemish Government via VLAIO (the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship): “Thanks to this support, we were able to increase our R&D-efforts and take them to a higher level, which puts us where we are today. Innovation is key in Limburg and Flanders, and we are pleased that our drone technology can conquer the world from our home base in Limburg, “says Vanwelkenhuyzen.
If you are interested in learning more about the use of drones in ‘smart’ environments or would like to gain insight into how a third party can develop services at the 6th NeTWorK, give us a call, we will be happy to provide you with additional text and explanation.