Airbus has placed a firm order with AirSeas to purchase the first ever automated kite for its cargo ships, in a deal signed at the SMM maritime trade fair in Hamburg, Germany.
The automated kite, named SeaWing is based on parafoil technology used to tow commercial ships, and will offer Airbus a way to cut shipping fuel costs by 20 per cent and reduce its environmental footprint by 8,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Airbus owns a fleet of four RO-RO ships to transport aircraft parts around Europe and the USA, and it is focusing on improving productivity and delivering aircraft faster and more cost effectively for its customers.
SeaWings combines aeronautical know-how with maritime technology to create a breakthrough in the maritime transportation sector.
A simple switch launches or recovers the kite which unfolds, operates and refolds autonomously.
The system collects and analyses meteorological and oceanic data in real time, adapting this information to optimise its performance as well as improve safety.
AirSeas chief executive officer, Vincent Bernatets says: “We are very proud that Airbus has confirmed its confidence in the SeaWing system after seeing our test results first-hand on their own ship.
“This first RO-RO vessel installation opens the way for further pioneering deals on container ships, bulkers and ferries. We are glad we can start helping our customers to reduce ship emissions in order to preserve the environment.”