The Clarus Networks Group, a leading provider of innovative communication solutions, is pleased to announce its successful partnership with Skylift UAV, a prominent player in the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) industry. This collaboration has enabled the deployment of a groundbreaking autonomous drone delivery system for the offshore renewable energy sector. The initiative utilises Starlink Maritime connectivity, heralding a new era of efficient and sustainable cargo delivery to offshore energy installations.
SkyLift UAV was founded with a mission to design, develop, and operate specialised commercial drones for a wide range of applications, including offshore energy installations and other commercial sectors such as heavy lift, security, and maintenance. Their approach is firmly rooted in aviation principles, and they have a strong conviction that drones have the potential to revolutionise aviation. Over the last four years, Skylift has dedicated itself to the development, construction, and testing of drones capable of persistent operations in challenging offshore environments.
This collaboration has enabled the offshore wind farm operators to pioneer the use of autonomous giant drones for cargo transportation to their installations, a game-changing development in the industry. These drones have a remarkable wingspan of 2.6 meters, allowing them to transport payloads of up to 68kg. This innovative approach eliminates the need to shut down turbines during cargo delivery, reducing operational costs and time, improving safety and efficiency, and minimising work disturbance for personnel at the sites. Moreover, it significantly reduces the carbon emissions and climate change impacts associated with multiple cargo trips by ships. These autonomous drones are operated from existing crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and Service Operating Vessels (SOVs) already stationed at the installation sites, further enhancing their sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
Chris Schonhut, Director of Energy and Maritime at The Clarus Networks Group, commented on this milestone partnership: “We are thrilled to have worked with Skylift UAV on this project supplying and managing Starlink Maritime connectivity services to power Skylift UAV’s autonomous drone delivery system. Our cutting-edge technology is supporting the sector’s mission to reduce costs, maximise efficiency, and enhance safety. This collaboration exemplifies the potential for innovative technology to revolutionise the way we approach cargo delivery to offshore energy installations.”
Skylift UAV’s Chief Operating Officer, Harry Getliffe, also shared his thoughts on the success of this project: “Skylift is proud to be at the forefront of this industry-changing initiative, and we believe that this system can be commercialised in offshore energy installations, with various regions acting as global leaders. Clarus, with Starlink’s Maritime connectivity, has played a pivotal role in making this innovation possible, making it feasible to operate the drones remotely from anywhere, greatly enhancing efficiency and safety. This would quite simply not have been possible with traditional satellite connectivity.”
The deployment of these autonomous drones promises to have far-reaching applications beyond wind farms, including cargo delivery to seaports, anchorage points, and even replacing CO2-emitting transport methods in industries such as oil and gas. The technology has exceeded expectations in terms of reliability, speed, and durability, opening the door to a wide array of possibilities in the maritime and offshore sectors.
The Clarus Networks Group and Skylift UAV are excited to continue their collaboration in pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the offshore energy industry and beyond, with the goal of creating more sustainable and efficient solutions.