Drone supply over the Hudson River

NUAIR and NYNJ Port Authority Conduct Drone Delivery Over the Hudson River

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

A year after launching a new Girl Scout badge to encourage and educate girls in STEM careers, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commemorated the partnership with the delivery of a box of Raspberry Rally cookies across the Hudson River, which served as the payload for the agency’s first test of a small unmanned delivery aircraft. The box of cookies traveled 3 miles from Greenville Yards in Jersey City, NJ, to the New York New Jersey Rail’s (NYNJR) eastern terminus in Brooklyn, NY in only 15 minutes, and the drone made the return trip in 10 minutes.

The delivery was made using an autonomous cargo drone in a pilot developed by Saleh Kojak, who manages the agency emergency management office’s drone program. Kojak coordinated the test, securing support from aviation and port department staff and signoffs from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The test flight was conducted by Northeast UAS Aerospace Integration Research (NUAIR), a New York-based non-profit with the goal of safely integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace.

The Port Authority operates a fleet of six unmanned aircraft, which have been deployed to plan the project raising the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge; to perform visual inspections at the George Washington Bridge; to assist public safety campaigns; and to help with berth maintenance at its marine terminals.

The Port Authority is interested in pursuing environmentally friendly solutions to middle-mile cargo delivery. Its vehicular crossings, such as the George Washington Bridge and the NYNJR cross-harbor railcar float, are the most used paths of middle-mile deliveries between New York City and the US mainland. Last year, the agency’s six crossings collectively handled over 8 million eastbound truck trips, while NYNJR floated approximately 4,500 loaded railcars throughout 2022

“Technology moves very fast, you see cars with features now that they didn’t have 10 years ago,” said Program Director Seth Wainer. “But we see the drone cargo space, especially for middle-mile, which allows shippers to move goods from a fixed point to a fixed point, as having strong opportunities over the next five years.”

Following the demo’s success, the Port Authority is now calling for private-sector participants looking to establish cross-Hudson River air corridors and complementary infrastructure in the future through a Request for Innovation (RFI)

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Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.

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