Nicolas Ang is a co-founder of F-Drone, a ship-to-shore delivery business, which is a necessity for shipping logistics. Singapore drone company, F-Drone, is planning to reinvent the process involved in such a company with their unique delivery drone, and with the hope that it will reduce the time, costs, and carbon emissions by as much as 80%.
The drone market is very exciting to many business-minded people in Singapore at this time, and F-Drone, founded in 2019, has come a long way in such a short time, Ang points out enthusiastically,
“We have a vision to enable large-scale and on-demand aerial deliveries for the industrial world. Specifically, we are developing a drone that can deliver 100kg over 100km to ship-to-shore delivery platforms.”
He further states:
“We plan to complete the development of such a drone by the end of 2021. Right now, we have built our 3rd prototype, which we’ve named “Hyperlaunch,” capable of delivering 5kg over 50km. Since December 2019, we have been using an off-the-shelf drone to conduct test deliveries to vessels. In April, 2020, we became the first company in Singapore to obtain an authorization for the aviation authorities to conduct Beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) drone deliveries.”
Building a Solution to Solve a Billion Dollar Problem
When asked by DRONELIFE how the idea came about, Ang answered that was the question he wanted to hear and stated further by pointing out that, that was the answer that every investor wants to hear, that is, that F-Drones came into being as a direct response to a very serious financial problem in a large and challenging market. He put it,
“Yeshwanth and I met through Entrepreneur First, which is a talent investor program that helps to build deep technology startups. Both of us were very excited about the drone sector, and, in particular, the possibility of helping businesses move supplies across remote locations.”
Ang is a veteran of the Singapore government as part of Singapore’s Office for Space Technology and Industry, working with foreign investors in a variety of sectors.
He enthusiastically shared:
“I have an insatiable appetite for new things, especially if they defy gravity. For instance, I was previously involved in Airbus’s Spaceplane collaboration with Singapore, and I first spoke with SpaceX about a decade ago.”
When Ang was living in China and Australia for 6 years, he worked with the aerospace, energy, marine, and offshore, and mining sectors, which were key sectors that F-Drones works with now. Ang said, “We were surprised to find a really painful problem in the marine and offshore sector, which is reliant on boats and helicopters to send supplies to ships and offshore platforms. They are really expensive, slow and carbon intensive.”
F-Drone estimates that this particular market that is conducive to drones and has the potential of being a billion dollar market. He is convinced that the benefits far outweigh the risks of this new technology. Already, large shipping enterprises have interacted with the company with customers and partners such as Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS), GAC group, Schulte Group and Hafnia.
Ang points out that the F-Drone solution won’t eliminate existing vendors, but make the entire process more efficient, and thus drastically change the workflow of the industry.
He stated the following:
“We don’t think we are replacing anyone. Instead, we are offering an alternative for smaller deliveries which today have to be consolidated with bigger supply trips… For instance, a set of documents may have to wait a few hours to tag along the next boat that’s going to the vessel, or it would have to get a whole boat by itself.”
Ang considers Singapore to be an ideal “sandbox” because of its unique geography and position as a global center of export. This makes it an ideal testing ground for many commercial applications. With Singapore’s unique geography, its position as a global center of export and with one of the world’s busiest ports, Singapore is “a perfect testbed and market for us,” said Ang.
Nicolas Ang is the co-founder of F-Drone, a ship-to-shore delivery business, whose startup to first demo flight has been amazingly fast. He has shown us what one person can do when filled with vision, passion, and hard work.