SINGAPORE - Drones buzzing around the island delivering small parcels may soon become a reality, as Singapore Post inked an agreement on Tuesday (April 18) with Airbus Helicopters to conduct research and trials on drone delivery.
The agreement makes SingPost a partner under Airbus Helicopter's Skyways parcel delivery project, which aims to develop the safe use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for package delivery in urban environments.
Airbus Helicopters and SingPost aim to roll out a trial at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in early 2018, which will see autonomous drones flying in pre-defined routes dropping off packages less than 4kg at locker parcels across the campus.
Airbus will develop the drone hardware for the trial while SingPost will provide the logistical support.
"The project has been progressing well and we welcome SingPost on board as our logistics partner in this critical phase, as we work in tandem to develop a robust autonomous parcel delivery system," said Airbus Helicopter's executive vice-president of engineering and chief technical officer Jean-Brice Dumont, who signed the memorandum of understanding with SingPost's Covering Group chief executive Mervyn Lim.
Said SingPost's Mr Lim: "The project ... is designed to address real-world challenges such as safety and accurate flight in high rise cities, while meeting the needs of customers."
This is not the first time SingPost is exploring the use of drones in delivering packages and letters. In September 2015, SingPost delivered a letter and T-shirt from Lorong Halus to Pulau Ubin, using an off-the-shelf drone system customised by engineers from SingPost and the then-Infocomm Development Authority Labs.