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Autonomous drones speed up cargo port operations

14 April, 2021 | The Sphere Drones Blog

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Cargo ports are one of the busiest places on Earth, with ships and containers moving in and out around the clock. This often results in vessels needing to wait longer before being processed, wasting time and using more fuel in the process.

The Danish international shipping and logistics company or DFDS felt these time constraints, turning to drones to solve the problem. Specifically, DJI's Matrice 210 equipped with a Zenmuse XT2 and backed by the Lorenz AI platform.

Locating and tracking containers

A significant section that was taking up a majority of the time was finding the correct cargo containers for the right ship. This required a drive to manually locate each container based on an approximate location, almost like finding a needle in a haystack.

This required DFDS to work with partners that could find a solution to the problem. That solution came from DJI and Lorenz, in the form of a drone that is able to scan each container in the yard and relay the information back to a database with the location of the container.

Not only was this a valuable tool to know which containers were in the yard, but it has also allowed drivers to quickly locate them when required, using an in-cab device that links back to the database. The new drone-powered system has allowed DFDS to save 15 minutes and 1 ton of fuel per vessel on average.

Cloud-based solution

Lorenz AI is a cloud-based platform that ensures all of the data collected by the drone is sent back to it in real-time, removing the need for data to be uploaded after an operation. Another benefit of having it cloud-based is the easy updating. If DFDS found a new use for its Matrice 210 drones, it can update the algorithm, and the drone will be able to detect anything else - this can be great for oil spill detection or emissions monitoring.

Credit: DJI

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