Airbus and Singapore Post partner for unmanned aerial parcel delivery system

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Apr 19, 2017: Airbus Helicopters is collaborating with Singapore Post (SingPost) as its logistics partner for the innovative Skyways parcel delivery project. The announcement was made at the inaugural Rotorcraft Asia exhibition taking place in Singapore.

Skyways is an experimental project to develop a safe and economically viable aerial unmanned parcel delivery system for use in urban environments.

A MoU was signed in February 2016 between Airbus Helicopters and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore to conduct the Skyways proof-of-concept trial. The research and development phase is now at an advanced stage, with an initial trial phase planned at NUS by early 2018. This will involve the transport of small packages within the university campus.

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.
As the logistics partner for Skyways, SingPost will bring its expertise in software systems that control and manage delivery networks, customer-interface systems and real-time back-end links to a delivery system that serve the last mile. SingPost will also contribute its understanding of postal and eCommerce logistics trends to ensure the solutions developed will address the future logistics needs of cities around the world.

“Skyways was launched with the intent to provide highly efficient, reliable and seamless small parcel deliveries using drones in urban cities. The project has been progressing well and we welcome SingPost onboard as our logistics partner in this critical phase, as we work in tandem to develop a robust autonomous parcel delivery system that will revolutionise the logistics industry,” said Airbus Helicopters’ executive vice president of Engineering and chief technical officer Jean-Brice Dumont.

“Drones and other autonomous vehicles are in the future of the logistics industry. The demonstrator that Airbus Helicopters and SingPost will be developing is designed to address real-world challenges such as safe and accurate flight in high rise cities, while meeting the needs of customers,” said Mervyn Lim, SingPost’s Covering Group CEO.

“Our trial will involve SingPost’s parcel locker technology, and this MoU fits well into our long term plans to develop future generations of parcel delivery points that involve drones and the vertical dimension. Together with Airbus Helicopters’ technologists, SingPost’s engineers will be working to ensure the concept meets the future logistics needs of urban environments like Singapore.”

Skyways is one of a number of innovative Urban Air Mobility projects currently being researched at Airbus. These also include the Vahana and CityAirbus autonomous flying vehicle concepts.

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