Airbus develops Skyways – a drone delivery system
Airbus‘ subsidiary specializing in innovation and research Airbus XO is developing Skyways, unmanned aerial delivery solutions, which will take place in Singapore for its trial and implementation.
Airbus XO said that as the people move towards a future where autonomous urban flight becomes technologically normalized, the company need to help develop a world that can welcome and support it. This means proving efficacy, safety and economic viability both in terms of the technologies themselves, and the operational management systems supporting them.
In February 2016, Airbus Helicopters signed a contract with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) allowing us to test a drone parcel delivery service on the campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS) in mid-2017.
For testing and assessing this new concept Airbus XO is working together with the Airbus Defence and Space team, who created an operation management system which is the base for the overall infrastructure that we have developed.
Skyways constitutes a delivery solution that aims to provide efficient delivery of small parcels to students and faculties using drones. After this pilot test, the company is hopeful that commercial projects will be possible to launch in the Asian city and to extend the testing to passenger transport.
The Skyways drone is a fully autonomous octocopter that carries air transport containers located on its underside and flies an equally fully automated route called ‘aerial corridors’ landing on a designated landing pad where it is automatically unloaded. The customer receives a delivery notification on their smartphone saying their parcel is ready for picking up at the parcel station.
Currently, regulatory constraints do not allow unpiloted flight over cities. Airbus XO said: “If we’re able to demonstrate that Skyways and associated infrastructure can safely operate over NUS, it could help evolve the regulatory framework for self-piloted aircraft systems operations in Singapore first, and then in the rest of the world.“