The Future Flight Consortium – led by Garuda Robotics and comprising Singapore Civil Defence Force, Parkway Pantai, Security Industry Institute, Singtel, Arete-M, AirMap, Gemalto, Flare Dynamics, Volans-i, Skyfront, University of Glasgow (Singapore), and Acorn International Network – has been selected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Transport to develop a connected urban airspace management system for unmanned aircraft in Singapore.
The MOT and CAAS call for proposals will spur the rapid development and adoption of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Singapore across various industries. By supporting the development of innovative capabilities, technologies and solutions for navigation, sense-and-avoid, fleet management and UAS traffic management, the program will enable beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight operations in Singapore’s densely populated urban environment while ensuring safety.
Drone pilots will remotely operate and monitor BVLOS drones from a Drone Operations Center. Over a two-year period, consortium members will integrate complementary technologies and conduct rigorous tests to demonstrate the reliability and safety of the system. “Our goal is to make it possible for any enterprise who needs to fly drones BVLOS in Singapore to easily do so in a safe and effective manner,” said Ong Jiin Joo, Future Flight’s Project Director and CTO of Garuda Robotics.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is exploring how to use drones to form an aerial supply chain. “SCDF is in discussions with Garuda Robotics to explore the feasibility of utilizing BVLOS drones in our operations,” said AC Yazid Abdullah, Director, Medical Department/SCDF.
“We look forward to enabling first response teams to save more lives by building an aerial delivery method for critical life-saving supplies,” said Mark Yong, Co-founder and CEO of Garuda Robotics. “Skyfront is extremely excited to provide delivery drones for the consortium, as we believe our ultra long endurance VTOL technology can save lives, improve response times, and reduce costs, without putting further lives at risk,” said Dr Troy Mestler, CEO of Skyfront.
Parkway Pantai, which operates Mount Elizabeth, Mount Elizabeth Novena, Gleneagles and Parkway East hospitals in Singapore, plans to transport blood samples and specimens by drone between these four hospitals and its central laboratory. “Parkway Pantai is always exploring new ways to provide quality healthcare to our customers more efficiently. Emerging technologies like unmanned aircraft systems allow us to unlock new opportunities in how we deliver care more expediently and better serve our patients,” said Phua Tien Beng, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Operations Division, Parkway Pantai.
“We are excited to be part of the consortium by providing our capability in high payload, long range drones for blood sample deliveries,” said Wesley Zheng, Co-founder of Volans-i.
“Temasek Polytechnic-Security Industry Institute (SII), a CET centre for Security WSQ training, is an advocate for adoption of technology in the security industry,” said Johnson Ng, Head of the Temasek Polytechnic-Security Industry Institute. SII will enable their security company members to respond rapidly to security incidents and fire alarms with drones. “Drones will benefit security operations in the area of surveillance and SII plans to roll out more security technology-related courses in the near future.”
In addition to Garuda Robotics, Flare Dynamics is the other holder of the CAAS Unmanned Operator Permit (UOP) in the consortium. “We are excited by this opportunity to work with CAAS and the consortium to make BVLOS a possibility,” said Vincent Loh, Flare Dynamics’ Co-founder and sales director.
To enable these use cases, the consortium will build and test a single framework for authorizing, monitoring, and coordinating large numbers of heterogeneous aircraft. This framework will enable the generation and approval of flight paths, and the identification and authentication of aircraft and pilots against a secure registry. Fault tolerant and secure public or private communications networks; remote takeoff and landing stations; and advanced onboard detect-and-avoid capabilities will also be developed. The consortium further aims to create standards for national airspace deconfliction; perform detailed risk modeling and concept of operations analysis; and propose methods for providing real-time public access to information about BVLOS drone flights.
“We look forward to leveraging our engineering capabilities and superior islandwide mobile network to deliver high quality aerial coverage and enable seamless connectivity around the drones’ fly zones,” said Tay Yeow Lian, Managing Director of Networks for Consumer Singapore at Singtel.
“As a pioneer in developing solutions for unmanned machines using standards-based private LTE networks, Arete M strongly believes in the vision of BVLOS operations with guaranteed Quality of Service, low latency and freedom from interference,” said Dr PS Tang, Managing Director of Arete M.
“AirMap is proud to be the UTM provider for the Future Flight Consortium and bring our experience in global UTM deployments to Singapore’s growing drone economy,” said Ben Marcus, AirMap co-founder and Chairman.
“For the vision to become a viable reality, Gemalto is proud to bring state of the art security technologies to manufacturers, service operators and public authorities.”said Benjamin Binet, Vice President Marketing Mobile Services and IoT at Gemalto.