Maritime drones, the future of inter-island connections? - 06/05/2039
How to maintain the link between our archipelagos while the cost of fossil fuels continues to increase and the energy markets are increasingly stressed by the geopolitical tensions associated?
Of course, the development of electric transport, which has seen an obvious boom in recent years, seems to be, for the moment, the most economically and technically efficient option.
Obviously, locally, the challenge is to find a way to produce efficiently and low energy. If the development of solar farms is for the moment the easiest element to deploy (even if the land issue remains a major block despite the regulatory progress made in this area since the commissioning of the Land Tribunal).
In parallel, the government has put in place tax incentive schemes to develop tidal turbines, well adapted to the island context especially when installed in the reef openings and taking advantage of currents entering and leaving the lagoon.
In any case, it is now recognized that air transport is finding it increasingly difficult to maintain tickets at affordable rates.
Faced with this, the recent development of maritime drones (since the deployment by the Tesla company of the first models about ten years ago, based on the first maritime drone created by Space X in the 2010s) seems to be a highly possible option for inter-island transport.
Powered by solar panels installed along the drone and also by rechargeable batteries docked via a fast and efficient plug-and-play docking system, these UAVs can be used at a lower cost because the workforce is limited to a team of 3 sailors to manage the reception in normal service and the evacuation in case of emergency.
Limited labor, low energy cost and exploitation facilitated by a self-propelled machine and controlled by a home port managed by a single individual, this solution could be of significant interest for an oceanic country like ours.
Of course, the question arises of the ability of these UAVs to navigate long distances and in open seas safely. But already, this could be envisaged for regular connections over distances such as Tahiti-Moorea or Raiatea-Bora Bora or between the Marquesas Islands which depended (and still depend on exponential cost) for air links.
The question remains to the government: is not it time to consider incentives for this kind of mode of transport more revolutionary than that in order to maintain the vitality of the economic links between the islands!