Airbus Helicopters' parcel delivery drone completes first flight demonstration

Skyways, Airbus’ unmanned air vehicle designed for autonomous parcel deliveries is on track to commence trial service in Singapore.

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Airbus Helicopters (Marignane Cedex, France) announced Feb 8. that its Skyways unmanned air vehicle successfully completed its first flight demonstration at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The drone took off from its dedicated maintenance center and landed on the roof of a specially designed parcel station where a parcel was automatically loaded via a robotic arm. Once successfully loaded with the parcel, the Skyways drone took off again and returned to land, demonstrating its automatic unloading capability.

“Today’s flight demonstration paves the way positively to our local trial service launch in the coming months,” says Alain Flourens, Airbus Helicopters’ executive vice president of engineering and chief technical officer. “Safe and reliable urban air delivery is a reality not too distant into the future, and Airbus is certainly excited to be a forerunner in this endeavor.”

This inaugural flight demonstration follows the launch of the experimental project with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in February 2016 to develop an urban unmanned air system to address the safety, efficiency and sustainability of the air delivery business in cities such as Singapore. The collaboration was subsequently extended in April 2017 with Singapore Post (SingPost) becoming the local logistics partner to the project.

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