Valenciaport tests the use of airships for aerial surveillance of port activities

it is part of the Autonomous Stratospheric Platforms for Maritime Monitoring (PLEAMMAR) project developed by the startup Smarthaps within the framework of the Ports 4.0 funds

This trial serves to test this system for port applications such as pollution control, logistics operations, security and traffic registration

The main objective of the Fund is to actively promote and incorporate disruptive innovation in the Spanish port-logistics sector

Valencia, April 5th, 2023

An electrically powered airship with sensors and instruments to analyse environmental, security and maritime traffic control parameters flew over the Port of Sagunto to test the use of this technology. This is the Autonomous Stratospheric Platforms for Maritime Monitoring (PLEAMMAR) project, which is being developed by the startup SMARTHAPS within the framework of the Ports 4.0 programme promoted by Puertos del Estado and the Port Authorities.

The PLEAMMAR project aims to carry out a feasibility study of the use of HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites) for port applications such as maritime and land traffic control, security and surveillance, pollution control and logistics operations, among others. As part of the project activities, a test was carried out using a captive (grounded) airship that could provide a demonstration of the capabilities of the future stratospheric platform. The test involved the collaboration and participation of the Port Authority of Valencia (PAV), the Valenciaport Foundation and the Sagunto Customs Administration.

The airship was deployed at a height of 100 metres, previously coordinated and authorised by ENAiRE. The vehicle was equipped with a gyro-stabilised optical camera for the acquisition of images that were sent in real time to the ground control station. During the in-flight operation, various activities and areas of the port were monitored, according to the indications of the APV personnel and which had been defined in previous phases as use cases of interest for port management.

Disruptive innovation
This initiative is backed by Ports 4.0, with the aim of testing this technology in the field of port applications. The Ports 4.0 capital fund is the corporate open innovation model adopted by Puertos del Estado and the Spanish Port Authorities to attract, support and facilitate the application of talent and entrepreneurship to the Spanish public and private port-logistics sector in the context of the 4th industrial revolution.

image by Port Authority of Valencia

in the case of the PAV, through these funds it wants to promote sustainability and decarbonisation projects in renewable energies, efficient management of energy networks or circular economy; new business opportunities in the logistics chain; the digitisation of port processes; and integration with the immediate environment, both the city of Valencia and the Valencian Community.

SMARTHAPS is a start-up specialising in the development of stratospheric vehicles known as HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites), which are electric-powered airships capable of flying for several months at a height of 20 km while maintaining a stationary position and providing continuous coverage over an area of interest on the surface of the earth thanks to the different instruments and sensors they incorporate.

The Ports 4.0 Fund was launched in 2020 in a firm commitment to innovation on the part of the ports with the aim of ensuring that both port facilities and the logistics chain continue to gain in competitiveness. To this end, the programme is looking for startups and technology companies that propose real disruptive solutions to the port challenges of the 21st century.

Port Authority of Valencia press release