Parcel delivery by...drones

19 February 2016 | Research
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Drones could soon be used to deliver parcels across the NUS campus as part of a new trial

A collaboration between NUS and Airbus Helicopters (Airbus) will soon see a trial network of parcel stations established on campus that will allow users to send important and urgent documents to each other using Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones. In addition, suppliers across the country can tap on the network to deliver their goods via UAS to customers within NUS.

The trial, still in its early development stage, is part of the Skyways Experimentation Project which aims to develop an airborne infrastructure solution to enable sustainable and efficient delivery of parcels in large urban environments. The integrated system will comprise the following main components: safe and secure aerial corridors, Unmanned Aircraft (UA), operation management system of the UA fleet, automated parcel stations, and an overall communication system. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the project was signed between Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore on 17 February on the sidelines of the Singapore Airshow.

“NUS looks forward to contributing significantly to this exciting project over the next two years,” said Professor Ho Teck Hua, NUS Deputy President for Research and Technology. He added that NUS researchers also plan to collaborate with Airbus on co-creating technology solutions to meet the system’s requirements for Flow, Capacity and Optimisation Management, as well as for Cybersecurity.

Following the successful trial within NUS, the project could be extended to cover a second trial to deliver goods such as urgent medicine, oil samples and spare electronic parts from a parcel station on the Singapore coast to ships anchored at bay. Airbus intends to set up a Special Purpose Company in Singapore to conduct the Skyways Experimentation Project and prepare for the next steps.

See media coverage.