The European aerospace giant Airbus is to equip its own ships with automated flying kites to help reduce fuel costs on its four special roll-on, roll-off ships by upto 20 per cent.
Based at Toulouse, France, Airbus has placed an order with AirSeas, also of Toulouse, for the first ever automated kite, the SeaWing which combines aeronautical know-how with maritime technology.
Airbus makes parts for their family of aircraft in different countries then transport the items, such as wings made at the Broughton factory near Chester, from Mostyn Docks on the River Dee estuary, to the south of France where the aircraft are assembled.
A start-up company, AirSeas said: “A simple switch launches or recovers the kite which unfolds, operates and refolds autonomously. The system collects and analyses meteorological and oceanic data in real time. SeaWing adapts to this information in order to optimise its performance as well as ensure maximum safety.” (