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BHP Deploys Drones to Speed Port Operations
Mining and energy giant BHP Billiton is trialing the use of drones to speed up its port operations. The firm intends to deploy small unmanned aerial vehicles to take draft readings and inspect holds on giant bulkers as they wait to load rather than dispatching human inspectors for the purpose.
BHP VP of marketing freight, Rashpal Bhatti, is a prominent technological evangelist in shipping, and he believes that information collected by drones will one day feed into the BHP-supplied tablets that bulker captains use at BHP terminals. “All of our chartered ships receive a tablet when they berth. And on the tablet they can read the tension of the mooring line which has major safety benefits,” Bhatti says. “It’s all a bit futuristic but that is the direction we are going.’’
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