by Michael Willoughby
Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to enable urban air mobility (UAM) in Singapore.
The MOU was signed today at the Singapore Airshow 2020 between Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President, Engineering, Airbus and Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS.
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 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 (UTM) system and services to support the initial use-case.
- For such UAM operations, both parties will co-operate on fostering public acceptance, developing standards, and establishing necessary safety frameworks.
- Finally, Airbus and CAAS will study the feasibility and requirements for further UAM services that include leading-edge cargo and passenger transportation solutions.
This 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.
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.
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.
“CAAS supports the beneficial development of UAM. It 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,” said Shum.
Dumont noted at the occasion: “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.”
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image credit: Airbus