DMI, 42air team up for hydrogen-powered drone maritime delivery

Doosan Mobility Innovation (DMI), a hydrogen fuel cell system producer, has partnered with 42air, a maritime drone delivery provider, to co-develop delivery services using hydrogen fuel cell unmanned aerial vehicles (AUV).

Illustration; Source: Doosan Mobility Innovation

On 6 January, the companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) formalizing their mutual commitment and future engagement in expanding hydrogen fuel cell drone operations in maritime drone delivery.

Courtesy of Doosan Mobility Innovation

As part of the deal, DMI and 42air will work together to create new business models and develop a service model including specifying and integrating fuel cell power systems, automation software, logistics software, cargo handling systems and other technologies and processes to enable the new aerial delivery ecosystem.

DMI delivers commercial drone platforms with hydrogen fuel cell systems that can stay airborne for over two hours of flight time, as fuel cells have approximately four to five times higher energy density when compared to lithium-ion batteries.

This makes hydrogen-powered drones Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) capable and well suited for delivery purposes, the company explains.

On the other hand, 42air, known as the US subsidiary of South Korean startup 42dot that specializes in autonomous Transport as a Service (aTaaS), has performed delivery to ships in the Mississippi River, operating under visual flight rules authorized by Part 107 regulations.

By working with DMI, 42air envisions expanded operations beyond visual line of sight and using heavier and faster vehicles than allowed for by Part 107.

As disclosed, future delivery operations are planned to ships in anchorages around the Port of Los Angeles, as well as deliveries to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The 42air technology builds on and extends 42dot Urban Mobility Operating System (UMOS) to also support aerial delivery and logistics, the company states.

Commenting on the MoU, Doosoon Lee, CEO of DMI, said: “Hydrogen fuel cell technology has shown its strength in endurance by making our drone fly for two hours. By working with 42air, we will now show that this technology is happening now, not for the future, and that it is a very promising technology for drone delivery”.

“42air aims to improve the economics and convenience of maritime deliveries. By partnering with DMI, we can provide safe and environmentally friendly delivery, improving the life for crews onboard ships that may be stuck in distant anchorages for a long time”, added Henk Goosen, CEO of 42air.

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