The Water Spider. Image courtesy of Hope Technik.

While drone technology has been eagerly adopted by the defense and retail industries, unmanned aerial vehicles may soon help maritime officials monitor oil spills.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore is collaborating with engineering firm Hope Technik to develop a waterproof unmanned aerial vehicle to monitor offshore spills, Asia One said.

Work on the vehicle, known as the Water Spider, began last year and a prototype was shown on Wednesday at the 2015 International Chemical and Oil Pollution Conference and Exhibition.

The Water Spider will be able to fly in wind gusts of up to 20 knots and monitor an area of at least 500 feet at a time.

The vehicle will come equipped with two cameras and a thermal imaging system for nighttime operations.

Singapore-based Hope Technik hopes to start testing in ocean waters soon and expects the vehicle to be complete by the third quarter of this year.

The Water Spider is expected to cost at least $10,000 per vehicle.

“Using the UAV, we can have a comprehensive overview of the extent of the oil spill, and we can deploy our craft in a more efficient manner,” Captain Daknash Ganasen, port master and deputy director of marine operations at the MPA, told Asia One.


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