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Novel sea-to-air drone will ‘redefine’ marine operations, says Japanese/Chinese venture

Novel sea-to-air drone will ‘redefine’ marine operations, says Japanese/Chinese venture


YOKOHAMA,Japan – Recently, Japanese telecommunications operator KDDI, Japanese commercialdrone manufacturer PRODRONE, and Chinese underwater robotics firm QYSEATechnology unveiled what is claimed to be the world’s first ‘Sea-Air IntegratedDrone’ during a flight showcase at the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama.

Thecompanies say that the drone aims to modernize offshore and marine operationswith its intelligent capabilities, high working efficiency, and minimizedmanpower requirements. The sea-to-air drone is jointly manufactured bytelecommunications operator KDDI and underwater robotics manufacturer QYSEATechnology. The technology combines a heavy-duty aerial drone and QYSEA’sindustrial-class FIFISH PRO V6 PLUS ROV.

KDDIlaunched the project to create the new drone six years ago, with the goal of combiningadvanced mobile communication networks with drone technologies as a means of deliveringextended flying distances and lengths.

Novel sea-to-air drone will ‘redefine’ marine operations, says Japanese/Chinese venture

Throughlong-range mobile communications, the drone is can be operated remotely to flyto its preset sea route. After landing at its designated location, the FIFISHROV is released and deployed to work. The pilot is then able to remotelyoperate with the ROV from a safe working location, and perform a variety ofinspection, maintenance, and repair tasks underwater.

Thecompanies say that the drone is expected to have far-reaching applicationsacross the various marine-based industries. In offshore wind power, the dronecan be deployed to perform complex inspections and maintenance work on itsframes and foundations to greatly reduce human risks. In the world ofaquaculture, the drone can fly out to monitor its livestock and crops, as wellas perform maintenance and repair work through the ROV’s multitude of add-ontools. Other marine-based applications include operations involving search andrecovery, hull inspections, and various other subsea infrastructures.

Furtherdetails regarding the drone’s commercial release are expected in early 2022, thecompanies said.