JTC Corporation, the government agency responsible for the development and management of industrial estates, and the Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore (AAIS) announced on 9 April that they will be launching a new joint initiative this year to provide indoor testbeds within Seletar Aerospace Park for commercial applications of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones.
These readily available indoor spaces are housed within JTC’s high rise developments at Seletar Aerospace Park, and will provide a safe and controlled environment for companies to conduct development trials and customer demonstrations, thereby supporting the commercialization of these technologies. Implementation details are being worked out and companies that are keen to tap on these spaces can approach AAIS to register their interest.
The 320-hectare Seletar Aerospace Park consists of 160 ha of purpose-built land and infrastructure dedicated to the aerospace industry, with the remaining 160 ha occupied by the Seletar Airport. The Park is home to a an aerospace industry cluster of over 60 Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and local aerospace enterprises.
This is the latest in a series of drone-related developments during the past year in the city-state known for its forward-looking and innovation-friendly regulations. In February 2018, the Ministry of Transport (MOT), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and JTC designated one-north as a drone estate to facilitate trials in an urban environment.
Several trials for a variety of use cases were approved including: 1) An experimental project ‘Skyways’ by Airbus, to develop a safe and economically viable aerial unmanned parcel delivery system for use in dense urban environment; 2) test flights on site to validate design concepts, algorithms, technology and systems on the traffic management of multiple drone operations by Nanyang Technological University’s Air Traffic Management Research Institute; 3) Trialing Drone-as-a-Service last mile deliveries by Singtel in collaboration with NCS (a Singtel subsidiary and leading ICT company) and HopeTechnik (a local robotics company); 4) Trial and evaluation of key enabling technologies by ST Aerospace for its DroNet system, which is designed for remote (beyond visual line of sight) and autonomous deployment of drones; and 5) Enhancing the quality and productivity of building inspections through collaboration between JTC and H3 Dynamics.
In February 2019, ST Engineering received approval to conduct trials for its drones, which can be used for perimeter security screening and lightweight deliveries, over Lower Seletar Reservoir. There was a recent update in March 2019, that Airbus has begun shore-to-ship trials of its Skyways parcel delivery drone in collaboration with port services company Wilhelmsen Ships Services. The drones have a payload capability of up to 4kg and navigate autonomously to vessels as far as 3 km from the coast.
(Sources: JTC Corporation; Straits Times; Channel NewsAsia; Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore )