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The Port of Hamburg to Launch Drone Operations for Innovative Logistics

Delivery drones, air taxis, medical drones – all of these will change urban air mobility forever, and the process has already begun. While they’re flying above cities, all sorts of other unmanned vehicles, capable of floating or diving, are also proving to be of great help in the maritime industry. The Port of Hamburg in Germany wants to connect all of these innovations for “the logistics of the future.”
The first U-Space real-world laboratory in Germany was tested in Hamburg 6 photos
HHLA Sky Monitoring CenterPort of HamburgPort of HamburgPort of HamburgPort of Hamburg
The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) wants to start operating autonomous drones for various applications. For example, in case of serious accidents, challenging weather conditions (such as storms), or any other “unforeseeable disruption,” instead of putting humans to risk, or taking too long to respond, the port could use different types of self-driving vehicles, from the ones that can fly to the ones that float or dive.

In order to achieve this, HPA has partnered with HHLA Sky, a subsidiary of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. Together, they will work on the best ways of integrating drones into daily operations. Another area in which drones can prove useful is port infrastructure, which can be extended faster and more effectively by using unmanned aerial vehicles, and other robots, instead of human labor.

One of this project’s innovations is a state-of-the-art control center for operating and monitoring drones, developed by HHLA Sky. This center will connect with multiple services throughout the port, with the goal of streamlining processes that are typically labor-intensive. “We want to be a driver of sustainable innovations in the logistics of the future,” said Lars Neumann, HHLA Director of Logistics. And Hamburg is the perfect place for this pioneering project.

In 2021, this is where the first German U-Space real-world laboratory was tested. U-Space is the new buzz word defining the European Union’s specific procedures that ensure safe access to airspace for different types of drones. The tests that were carried out in Hamburg, supported by the German Ministry of Transport, demonstrated what a seamless, safe interaction between manned and unmanned aerial vehicles could look like.

The Port of Hamburg is set to start pilot operations for its commercial drone services later this year.

press release

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