Coinciding with last week's Singapore Air Show, Airbus Helicopters’ Skyways drone has completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The inaugural flight follows the launch of the experimental project with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in February 2016 to develop an urban unmanned air system to address the
safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the air delivery business in cities such as Singapore.
The collaboration was subsequently extended in April 2017 with Singapore Post (SingPost) becoming the local logistics partner to the project.
Airbus Helicopters is the overall Skyways system architect and provider, contributing its capabilities in drone platforms as well as its concept of future parcel delivery. This concept involves systems and structures that allow drones to land, dock with secure structures, discharge or take on payloads, and then fly off to other destinations.
The research and development phase of the Skyways project is progressing well with equipment and facilities installed at the NUS campus.
Trial services ahead
Various tests are already underway, and the unmanned air system will be demonstrated in the university when the trial service commences this year. Campus students and staff will be able to make use of Skyways to have small parcels between 2kg and 4kg delivered to designated parcel stations within the campus, which is the size of 150 football fields.
“The urban logistics challenge is complex and an ecosystem of parcel lockers and autonomous vehicles will be a key piece to solving this puzzle,” said SingPost Group Chief Information Officer, Alex Tan.
“The trial service that is taking off later this year will be an important step forward for SingPost in our efforts to develop solutions for the future logistics needs of Singapore and other cities of the world.”
Skyways is one of a number of innovative Urban Air Mobility projects currently being researched at Airbus. These also include the Racer high-speed helicopter demonstrator, as well as the Vahana and CityAirbus autonomous drone concepts.
Nol van Fenema