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Sometimes, you really need a cookie. Life at sea aboard a cargo ship demands weeks away from shore, and the galley menu can get a bit monotonous. Ocean shipping giant Maersk Group recently came up with a high-tech solution to the challenge when it used a flying drone to deliver a box of cookies to sailors on the 610-foot chemical tanker Maersk Edgar as it cruised off the Danish coast.
The cookies were a simple test cargo, of course. Future deliveries could include crucial items such as medicine and spare parts that ships otherwise could only obtain through lengthy detours to port. A drone fitted with a video camera or GPS locator could also perform dangerous tasks such as hull inspections and surveillance for pirates.
To perform the cookie delivery test, Maersk used an eight-bladed octocopter drone with a 41-inch wingspan and top speed of 36 miles per hour. Built by French company Xamen Technologies, the drone could carry just 4.5 pounds of payload. Larger models can carry five times as much weight but are not yet approved for operation in explosive environments such as tankers. Visit the Maersk site to watch a video of the test flight.