Drone trials to take place at one-north

The first drone estate in Singapore was announced on Wednesday (Feb 7), with one-north designated as the place to facilitate the trials of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technologies and commercial uses in a controlled urban environment. 

Approved operators and research users can carry out their trials and operations at one-north "without compromising safety and security", according to the joint press release by the Ministry of Transport, Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and JTC. 

For a start, CAAS will work with companies on five projects. These include a trial with Airbus for its "Skyways" initiative to develop an aerial unmanned parcel delivery system for use in dense urban environment.

The trial phase at the National University of Singapore will take place this year. It is also keen to extend this air delivery service to other areas of Singapore, they added. 

ST Aerospace is another interested party, and it plans to test and evaluate technologies for its DroNet system that is designed for remote and autonomous deployment of drones within an urban environment. 

It can be used to assist a security team to perform perimeter patrols or be the first to respond to an emergency call and provide details of what is going on, the press release said. 

Other organisations to conduct trials include Nanyang Technological University's Air Traffic Management Research Institute, Singtel with NCS and HopeTechnik and JTC and H3 Dynamics.

Mr Loh Ngai Seng, permanent secretary for transport and chairman of the national inter-agency UAS Committee, said: "There is much potential for UAS operations to transform mobility and logistics in urban cities, so we want to encourage the development of beneficial uses of UAS in Singapore, while maintaining safety and security.

The concentration of numerous UAS trials and activities in one-north will also provide MOT and CAAS with the opportunity to study the technical capabilities and expertise needed to manage high-volume, complex UAS operations in a dense, urban environment.”

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