UAVs have numerous uses in the maritime industry, including but not limited to:
- Locating and surveying hazardous lost cargo that might have gone loose from a stricken vessel
- Inspecting the hull of the damaged vessel for leaks or damage below the waterline
- A UAV can be used by security consultants and bridge crew to assess risk much earlier than otherwise possible
- Intelligence gathering
- A UAV can be used to locate piracy, weapons and areas of interest
- A UAV can be used to track and monitor activity at sea
UAVs have the capability to run day after day, in total darkness and are therefore far more capable than humans, but at far less expense than a helicopter or manned aircraft.
Some experts have predicted that all manned cargo aircraft will one day be replaced by unmanned aircraft, whilst the Amazon Prime Air program has opened the eyes of the world to the possibility of UAVs being widely used for delivering parcels and packages. There is no doubt that UAVs could save the shipping industry billions of dollars, but UAVs will also help to get cargo and goods to locations that may be hazardous and otherwise difficult to reach.