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Uber and Airbus join the push for “on-demand aviation”


Uber’s rapid emergence and disruptive influence on established industries and processes looks to continue with the launch of Uber Elevate.

Not content to remake the taxi business, Uber now wants to take ride-sharing to a whole new level – that level being above ground. Uber has shown its long-term plan is to take to the skies. A leading former NASA expert, Mark Moore, has been brought on board to get the idea of flying cars off the ground.

Back in 2010, Moore published a white paper on the feasibility of electric flying cars, which has already inspired Google to launch two start-ups in the field. The first generation of flying Ubers would be likely to have a Uber driver (or Uber pilot, perhaps) with trials, at least according to Moore’s vision, coming in as soon as a year. More details can be found in the White Paper prepared by Uber, available through this link.

There aren’t many more established names in the aviation industry today bigger than Airbus. They too are going beyond simply taking notice of this emerging sector, by detailing plans for their own adoption of drone technology through the launch of their Skyways Project.

Airbus Helicopters and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conduct proof-of-concept trials for an unmanned aircraft delivery system.

Under the Skyways Experimentation Project, Airbus and CAAS aim to develop an airborne infrastructure solution to address the sustainability and efficiency of parcel delivery business in large urban environments, also known as “last mile” delivery.

The Skyways Project will be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, Airbus has begun work with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to establish a network of parcel sending stations on the NUS campus. This network will allow users to send important and urgent items such as documents via a drone to other parts of the campus.

Following the success of the first trial, the project may extend to a second trial. This will cover delivery of goods such as urgent medicine, oil samples and spare electronic parts from a parcel station located at the Singapore coast to ships anchored at bay.
Airbus intends to set up a Special Purpose Company in Singapore to conduct the Skyways Project and to prepare for the next steps.

Commercialisation plans that might be derived from the project will be executed from Singapore with Singapore as the Asia Pacific headquarters for this business.

“Although many UAS services are already common today, efficient and reliable applications in the logistics industry are still in their early stages. Our vision is the seamless integration of UAS into logistics networks and daily life in a safe, secure and economically efficient manner,” said Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President, Engineering, Airbus Helicopters.

 

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