The Port of Rotterdam is pioneering a new technology it says will make the port smarter: a water drone.
Ever since the 'insane' plan of Pieter Caland to build the Nieuwe Waterweg, new solutions that make the port of Rotterdam smarter, more efficient, better and more sustainable are thought up constantly. One of the latest developments is the water drone.
“Innovation flows through Rotterdam, like the water through the Maas,” a poetic entrepreneur once said. That is definitely true. Not because it is 'nice to have', but because it is a necessary step towards a successful future. Therefore, the Port Authority is fully committed to all possible ways of innovation, says Allard Castelein, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Rotterdam Authority.
Allard added: “Innovation cannot be forced. However, you can create an environment in which innovation is likely to take place and be in line with the market.”
The Port Authority achieves this through an Innovation Eco System. Castelein: “We support research in conjunction with universities, such as the Port Innovation Lab with Delft University of Technology and of course our own Erasmus University in Rotterdam. And we collaborate with contests for students. In addition, we support Dutch start-ups that are relevant to the port, but we also scout worldwide via PortXL; the first accelerator that focuses on port start-ups on a global level.”
The water drones active in the port today are among the results of the Innovation Eco System. The AquasmartXL, for instance. This is a small, unmanned boat, equipped with a camera. It sends images in real time to the quay, thus providing a flexible solution for surveillance and inspection from the water surface.