When cruise ships are the new cars, cruise lines are becoming the new taxis
Cruise lines are using drones to transport passengers between destinations, with the technology being tested on luxury ships in the Caribbean.
The technology is gaining traction in the United States, too, as the Federal Aviation Administration has approved the use of drones on American freighters, and the U.S. Coast Guard is developing a drone-equipped helicopter.
What’s the deal with drones?
In 2016, a federal law called the Drone Aviation Act gave the FAA the authority to regulate drone flights.
However, the law only allowed the agency to regulate manned aircraft.
The FAA, which oversees all manned aircraft and drones, has yet to officially approve the use or deployment of drones for passenger transportation.
But a number of companies are working on unmanned drones, and some of those are testing their drones for commercial use.
“It’s a technology that has been around for decades,” says Alex Tully, CEO of Drone Tech, a company that develops and sells drones for the commercial market.
“The first unmanned aircraft were flying over Europe in the 1970s and 1980s.
It was really a big breakthrough, but it didn’t really catch on.”
One of the first unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that were flying on American skies in the late 1970s, a Piper PA-32.
(Courtesy of Alex Tullys) Some drones are used to conduct surveillance, while others are used for surveillance and photography.
But drones are increasingly being used for passenger transport.
“I think the reason it’s happening is because we need to make sure we don’t get stuck in the middle of conflicts,” says Matt Miller, a professor of aviation at Georgia Tech.
“We need to be able to get to work, and we need the flexibility to get home, get home and be productive.”
For example, when passengers arrive at a destination, the UAV will fly closer and closer to the passengers until the vehicle has flown through the entire length of the destination.
And then the drone will come back to the same location, with passengers still on board.
“There are a number that are able to do a lot of things that we don, at least initially, see in the real world,” Miller says.
In addition to the drones, many cruise lines and airlines have developed drones that can carry people, including a drone that can be launched for a guided tour of the ship.
The pilot of that drone will take off and land on the deck, but the UAS is tethered to the ship and has a camera to track the journey.
In 2018, the cruise line Carnival International, for example, began using a drone to carry passengers on its cruise ships from the UTAX to St. Thomas, Fla., a trip that costs about $250.
For more than a year, the company was able to land a drone on the ship in St. Louis.
“That drone was on the ships at all times of day and night,” says Michael Stumpf, Carnival’s chief marketing officer.
How drones work: A drone uses a camera and GPS to fly above and below the vessel. “
You have to remember, the technology is very different from the way we see people interacting with humans, but that’s really the key point.”
How drones work: A drone uses a camera and GPS to fly above and below the vessel.
It uses radar to find and track the ship’s position.
(Photo courtesy of Carnival International) “If you fly above a vessel, there’s no need to take out a drone,” says Chris Pomerantz, a drone pilot with UAV Technology, a U.K.-based company that specializes in drone technology.
“For a drone, you don’t need to know anything about the environment and what’s out there.
“When we’re going over, we can just fly as close to the vessel as we want.” “
With the drone, we have a really high degree of freedom in the way that we can go,” he says.
“When we’re going over, we can just fly as close to the vessel as we want.”
The UAV’s onboard camera will also track the vessel’s position and altitude, and will also tell the drone what time it’s flying.
It will take this data, along with the onboard GPS system, and use that information to determine where to land.
If the drone is not flying at the right time, it will land in a predetermined location, like the water or a runway.
“A lot of people have trouble with the drone in the sky because it’s so difficult to navigate in the sea,” Pomerants says.
When passengers disembark, they will be guided to a secure area by a pilot.
The onboard camera, which will track the drone’s altitude and location, will tell the pilot what time the drone was last seen and when the passengers will be allowed to get off.
When the drone lands, it can take off, and if the ship docks, the drone can stay on