Share article:
Share article:

Port of Antwerp deploys first autonomous drone

© Port of Antwerp

The Port of Antwerp today deployed its first autonomous drone, intended to be the first of a network to support the port authority in its core tasks.

The port of Antwerp covers a territory of more than 120 square kilometres, or about ten times the size of Heathrow airport. Not only is it huge, it forms part of the country’s critical infrastructure, with the presence of strategic industries and Seveso facilities.

The drone is intended to carry out safety tasks, and eventually be joined by more of the same, covering the entire area.

The drone that came into service this week was developed by DroneMatrix, based in Hasselt, and is stationed near to Kieldrecht lock on the left bank of the river, not far from the Dutch border.

It will follow a fixed route, although it can also be flown out on demand, for example to get an overview of a critical situation in an emergency.

In the early stages the drone will be tested in a number of use cases, such as infrastructure inspection, surveillance and monitoring, incident management, berth management and oil spill or drift waste detection.

The objective is to test the various applications in a realistic and complex environment (Seveso companies, wind turbines, high voltage, etc.) so that they can support the Harbour Safety & Security (HSS) department in the future,” the Port Authority said in a statement.

Several tests with other autonomous systems will follow over the course of 2021, in preparation of an operational network of autonomous drones ready to be deployed in 2022.”

Drones are a lever in carrying out our core tasks as a port authority, given the port’s huge surface area,” said Erwin Verstraelen, chief digital and innovation officer of the Port of Antwerp.

Thanks to a network of drones, we can keep a closer eye on what’s happening in the port. Through our Port of the Future innovation platform and cooperation with partners, such as DroneMatrix, we can accelerate technological innovation. Not just for drones, but also for promising evolutions in autonomous shipping, smart cameras and sensors. As such, we are working towards a safe, efficient and smart port: the port of the future.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
UN issues strong warning ahead of climate change summit in Glasgow
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...
Experts and politicians respond to new coronavirus measures
The handful of measures (re-)introduced by Belgium's Consultative Committee on Tuesday in response to the worsening coronavirus situation have had a ...
New fraudulent e-mails circulating in Belgium
A warning has been put out about new phishing e-mails that have been circulating since last Saturday and are sent from what could appear to be an ...