F-drones — a Singapore autonomous drone start-up — has won investment from Eastern Pacific Shipping and Schulte Group.
An Eastern Pacific-led seed capital funding exercise has also brought in other investors from Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.
With investors on board, F-drones said it can move ahead with developing its Hyperlaunch Heavy, a fully electric proprietary drone that is capable of delivering 100 kg payloads over a distance of 100 km (62 miles).
The funding will enable the company to form more technology and commercial partnerships, and hire global experts in aircraft design, avionics, autonomy and computer vision.
Yeshwanth Reddy said he and fellow co-founder Nicolas Ang were excited to have been able to close the funding round with more capital than initially intended.
“This demonstrates the industry’s confidence in our capability and vision to make maritime logistics more efficient, sustainable and safe. The capital will enable us to grow our team, accelerate our technology development and bring an unparalleled solution to market faster,” Reddy said.
F-drones claims to be the first company in the world to provide 24/7 commercial beyond-vision-line-of-sight drone deliveries to ships.
It attracted the attention of Eastern Pacific when it took part in the shipping company’s first maritime tech start-up accelerator project in 2019.
Gil Ofer, special advisor for innovation at Eastern Pacific, said his company saw F-drones as pioneers in an emerging space, which has immense potential.
“We firmly believe they will reinvent the shore-to-ship delivery process by being faster, cheaper and cleaner than any existing model in use today,” he said.
Ofer said F-drones also added an “urgent layer of safety” for seafarers and service providers by limiting human contact for routine deliveries.
“We are excited to be part of their journey,” he added.
F-drones is conducting test flights on its Hyperlaunch drone, which is capable of delivering 5 kg payloads over 50 km, which it claims is a notch above most delivery drones now available in the market.
The company plans to start test flights to ships in Singapore this year and begin commercial drone deliveries with the Hyperlaunch unit soon after.