Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading and best-connected port owner and operator, announced it has successfully embedded drone technology into its asset management practices and policies, following an 18 month program. It utilised PwC’s specialist drone digital transformation team to support drone adoption and transformation in asset management, while Aerodyne Group, a DT3 (Drone Tech, Data Tech and Digital Transformation) (Drone Tech, Data Tech and Digital Transformation) solutions provider, was selected as ABP’s drone service provider, bringing its extensive experience and world-class technology to bear.
ABP’s 21 ports and rail freight terminals around Britain offer unparalleled marine, road and rail access to domestic and international markets, and include 87km of quay and 1.4 million sqm of covered storage.
ABP’s Group Director Safety, Engineering and Marine, Mike McCartain, said: “After an initial proof of concept with PwC, we realised drones could offer significant value to our asset and property inspections, using drone and data technology integrated with a secure cloud platform. They are safer, faster and more cost-effective, enabling us to optimise operations and reduce risks.
“The cloud platform we’ve built with our partners gives our teams simple and intuitive access to the drone information, including the ability to build inspection reports in the browser, aligned to our existing asset management systems. Without a doubt, this is a big step forward in ABP’s digital transformation and safety journey using the latest available technology.”
Steve Russell, a Partner at PwC, elaborated: “It can be complex to implement drone technology and our team of digital transformation experts have supported ABP through the drone case for change, vendor selection and implementation, ensuring a systematic and low risk approach to making technology work for their business. ABP chose Aerodyne Group after our work with them on vendor selection and we are pleased to work with Aerodyne, noting their leading cloud software platform, local capability and significant global scale, with more than 300,000 infrastructure assets inspected across 25 countries.”
Founder and Group CEO, Aerodyne Group, Kamarul A Muhamed, said: “We are honoured to be selected as exclusive drone solution provider for ABP. Globally, our clients have benefited from optimised management of their critical assets and infrastructure leveraging on our solutions. We are committed to provide consistent quality services while complying to established regulations and standards.”
Development in the past 6 months have been focused on extensive site testing with Aerodyne across 8 locations in the UK. Analysis and data collection from the flights has demonstrated considerable cost saving and benefits; operations were safer, 25% more cost effective; and took 55% less time compared to traditional methods for selected assets.
In parallel, ABP worked with Aerodyne and PwC to build a cutting-edge drone visual asset management system which enables its teams to view asset condition dashboards, asset management information and build inspection reports, with only a browser required to access.
ABP’s next project is the development of an in-house drone capability to complement the Aerodyne solutions and it has just retained PwC’s specialist drone team to assist with this critical implementation.