Airbus and SingPost to trial Skyways drone delivery network

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Singapore Post (SingPost) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Airbus Helicopters, a subsidiary of civil aircraft manufacturer Airbus, to act as its logistics partner for the innovative Skyways parcel delivery project.

The MoU was signed by Jean-Brice Dumont (top left), executive vice president of engineering and chief technical officer for Airbus Helicopters, and Mervyn Lim (top right), SingPost’s acting CEO.

Skyways is an experimental project to develop a safe and economically viable unmanned aerial parcel delivery system for use in urban environments. An earlier agreement had been signed in February 2016 between Airbus Helicopters and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) 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 the National University of Singapore (NUS) for 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 for future parcel delivery. This involves systems and structures that enable drones to land, dock, 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 last-mile delivery system.

Dumont said, “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 revolutionize the logistics industry. A forerunner in innovation, Airbus strongly believes in improving daily lives by enhancing air mobility in urban spaces, in a safe, secure and reliable manner.”

Lim added, “Drones and other autonomous vehicles are the future of the logistics industry. The concept 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. 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.”

April 25, 2017

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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