Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to enable urban air mobility in Singapore.
The collaboration aims to bring UAM services and platforms to reality in Singapore’s urban environment, with the target to enhance industry productivity and improve the country’s regional connectivity.
As part of the agreement, Airbus and CAAS says they will collaborate to define and develop an initial UAM service with an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The parties will specifically work together to realise the Unmanned Traffic Management system and services to support initial use-cases.
For UAM operations, both parties say they will co-operate on fostering public acceptance, developing standards, and establishing necessary safety frameworks.
Airbus and CAAS will also study the feasibility and requirements for further UAM services that include leading-edge cargo and passenger transportation solutions.
Dumont says the MOU advances a longstanding partnership between Airbus and CAAS. An earlier collaboration was first established in 2016 for UAS proof-of-concept trials (“Skyways”). Airbus and CAAS subsequently signed an agreement with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to share and advance the development of operational and safety standards for UAS in urban environments.
“Airbus is constantly seeking ways to drive new frontiers in air mobility. We are excited to take the next step with our long-standing partner CAAS, with a shared vision of developing urban air mobility and the supporting UTM systems and services to bring a safe and reliable transportation solution to people,” says Dumont.
Skyways started as an experimental project aimed at developing safe unmanned air delivery systems for use in dense urban environments. The proof-of-concept trials for Skyways were successfully completed in 2019 with the delivery of parcels in the campus of the National University of Singapore, and deliveries of 3D-printed parts and consumables to vessels anchored at Singapore’s Eastern Working Anchorage.
Going forward, the Skyways UAS will be used as a flying test lab to continue testing technologies and concepts, focusing initially on connectivity and navigation, which are essential elements for UTM.
UTM is a key enabler for Airbus’ vision for urban mobility, and is paving the way for digital traffic management solutions. It will be a critical component to allow new aircraft, such as air taxis and UAS, to enter and share the skies safely.
According to Shum, CAAS supports the beneficial development of urban air mobility.
“This fits within our Smart Nation vision, where we aim to take full advantage of technology to solve problems, address challenges, and develop Singapore into one of the most outstanding cities in the world to live in. That is why we seek to collaborate with businesses to push the boundaries of their applications. Such collaborations, including our longstanding CAAS-Airbus partnership, build Singapore’s capabilities and expertise to enable advanced UA applications, particularly in our urban environment,” says Shum.
(Ed. Featured image from left to right, Airbus Executive Vice-President Engineering Jean-Brice Dumont and CAAS Director-General Kevin Shum at Singapore Airshow, 12 February 2020, provided courtesy of Airbus.)