Left to right: Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice-president, engineering, Airbus Helicopters, Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group, Pang Kin Keong, permanent secretary of Ministry of Transport, Singapore, and Kevin Shum, director-general of CAAS
Airbus Helicopters, a subsidiary of aircraft manufacturer Airbus Group, has agreed to partner with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to conduct trials using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for parcel deliveries in Singapore.
The Skyways Project aims to develop an airborne infrastructure solution to address the sustainability and efficiency of last-mile parcel deliveries in large urban environments. The project will focus on developing a complete solution including unmanned aircraft (UA) suitable for delivering the parcels; safe and secure aerial corridors for drone flight paths; a suitable operation management system for controlling and monitoring the UA fleet; automated parcel stations for take off and landing; and an overall communication system for solution.
Airbus has already begun working with the National University of Singapore (NUS) on the planning and development of the first trial, entailing the establishment of a parcel station network on the university’s campus. This network will enable users to send important and urgent items such as documents via drone to other parts of the campus. It also serves as a supply and distribution interface for suppliers across Singapore to deliver their goods to customers across the NUS campus.
Following the success of the first trial, the project may extend to a second trial. This will cover delivery of goods such as urgent medicine, oil samples and spare electronic parts from a parcel station located at the Singapore coast to ships anchored at bay.
Kevin Shum, director-general of CAAS, said, “We need to prepare for the greater use of unmanned aircraft in our urban environment to help address the new and future needs of our society. We want to facilitate their use by industry and the public sector, and also hobbyists, but we must at the same time ensure that the regulatory regime keeps apace with these changes to enable such uses, whilst ensuring public and aviation safety and security.”
Jean-Brice Dumont, executive vice-president, engineering, Airbus Helicopters, said, “Airbus Helicopters’ expertise in vertical lift solutions puts us in the best position to turn UAS into a business reality while ensuring their safe operation in dense urban environments. Although many UAS services are already common today, efficient and reliable applications in the logistics industry are still in their early stages. Our vision is the seamless integration of UAS into logistics networks and daily life in a safe, secure and economically efficient manner. Airbus strongly believes in the viability of the ‘Skyways’ project which will help turn consumer services unimagined only a decade ago into a reality very soon.”
Professor Ho Teck Hua, deputy president for research and technology at NUS, said, “NUS is pleased to be working with the Airbus Group on this Skyways Project. Our researchers are currently in the early stages of developing the use case for the first phase of this project, which will be hosted on our campus. NUS researchers also plan to collaborate with Airbus on co-creating technology solutions to meet the Skyways system requirements for flow, capacity and optimization management, as well as for cyber security. NUS looks forward to contributing to this exciting project over the next two years.”
February 18, 2016