Airbus announced that it ordered the automated kite SeaWing, which employs parafoil technology to tow large commercial ships. SeaWing was developed by AirSeas and can help propel large vessels, while it also claims that it can provide a 20% improvement in fuel economy.
When used on a vessel, SeaWing can be launched by activating a switch. The kite deploys, unfurls and operates autonomously, with its system collecting and analysing meteorological and oceanic data in real-time. When the towing effect is no longer required, SeaWing automatically refolds and is recovered.
Airbus has now ordered the kite for use on the company’s own Ro-Ro ships that transport large aircraft parts among its production sites in Europe and to the U.S. In addition to reducing shipping costs by the targeted 20%, SeaWing is expected to reduce Airbus’ overall industrial environmental footprint by 8,000 tons of CO2 per year.
SeaWing has been designed for integration on almost all commercial ships in operation today, while it can be installed during a regular stopover at a port of call.