Port Authority celebrates first successful flight of delivery drone across the Hudson
Anyone driving by the Hudson River on Wednesday may have seen a large drone heading toward Brooklyn. This drone was the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s first cargo drone flight.
The historic flight took place from Jersey City to 65th Street in Brooklyn. Officials said that the flight was a success.
“You can see it’s an immediate ascent to 150 feet. It holds that point for a second and then through a series of five waypoints, it’s going to begin its cross of the Hudson at a rate of about eight meters per second,” says Nate Bazydlo, customer success manager of Syracuse-based NUAIR.
The drone was able to turn around and come back to New Jersey after about 10 minutes. It is controlled by software on a laptop where pilots can simply pinpoint its destination.
“We’re communicating with the drone through 4G. We’re going over the data network, just to ensure that we always have communication from our ground station to the drone,” says Saleh Kojak, of the Port Authority Emergency Management Strategic Preparedness Unit.
The cargo on Wednesday was Raspberry Rally Girl Scout Cookies that aren’t being sold on the other side of the Hudson. The successful test flight helped to plan what other items can be transported via drone, including critical supplies.
“There were hospitals in New York City that were transporting medical goods just to test it out to get to hospitals a little quicker,” Kojak says. “That is an application of this technology and that’s kind of the direction that we’re leaning towards.”
The Port Authority teamed with NUAIR. The drone can carry about 10 pounds. But they say that larger drones can be built to carry hundreds of pounds. It would transform transportation at one of the most heavily trafficked marine and airspace areas in the world.
“This is going to reduce congestion, which has an annual multibillion-dollar cost to the regional economy,” says Bazydlo. “Then we also are going to be able to do it safer. Safer for the personnel that are working at the Port Authority and safer for the public.”
The Port Authority is looking for new partners to team up with for this technology.