IMDA, M1 and MPA to Conduct Coastal 5G Network Trials with Airbus for Urban Air Mobility Operations

Last updated: 10 June 2020

Published on: 11 June 2020

M1 and Airbus to also trial in-land areas

Singapore, 11 June 2020 – The Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”), M1 Limited (“M1”) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (“MPA”) have partnered with Airbus and to conduct coastal 5G standalone (“SA”) network trials at the Singapore Maritime Drone Estate. This continues Singapore’s efforts to build an open and inclusive 5G innovative ecosystem around the use cases of port operations, and incident management and response.

IMDA, M1, MPA and Airbus plan to conduct 5G SA trials in real-world environments to ensure unmanned aerial vehicles can operate safely and efficiently during all phases of their flights, including operations in the designated drone-fly zones. 

M1 will also be collaborating with TeamOne Technologies Pte Ltd, a local enterprise, to support the development of local capabilities within Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises. TeamOne aims to design and develop the world’s first aeronautical certified 5G SA communication modem for urban air mobility (“UAM”) operations. This 5G modem will be tested and optimised during the trials. 

In addition to the coastal trials, M1 and Airbus have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to conduct connectivity trials for in-land areas. This will enable M1 and Airbus to address the growing interest in unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS”) for UAM for other industries. 

All necessary permits and approvals will be sought from relevant agencies prior to the conduct of any flight trials.

Objectives of 5G trial

As a communications company, M1 will provide 4G and 5G network planning, including data collection for performance and coverage analysis of mobile network in the operating areas, network parameter optimisation and implementation of interference minimisation methods. M1 will assess the use of 4G and 5G technologies to provide enhanced geo-location positioning information for all phases of UAS flight using network-based information, which is more precise than the current Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technologies. Additionally, M1 will assess the network performance enhancement in connection stability, uptime and data throughput by aggregating seamlessly both 4G and 5G networks.

Previously, M1 and the Nanyang Technological University had conducted numerous successful trials to provide command, control and communication capabilities required for the safe and efficient drone operations using M1’s 4.5G networks. With the advent of 5G SA network supporting low-latency, responsive, secured and high-throughput mobile connectivity, cellular networks are expected to be able to provide even more precise, safe and reliable communications for the unmanned aircrafts.

Airbus, on its part, will provide a fleet of UAS for safe-flight testing and commit its expertise in the integration of the unmanned aircraft for the trials, ensuring that the UAS flight operations meet safety and regulatory requirements. The findings from these trials will help form a better understanding of evolving 5G standards, their feasibility and requirements for UAM applications, and future citywide UAS operations in Singapore’s urban and coastal environment. The establishment of a standard will open up the possibility for safe adoption of 5G as a core technology used in unmanned aircraft designs and operations.

“M1 has been a front runner in supporting the maritime industry to drive adoption and application of smart 5G technologies, and we are very pleased to be working with IMDA and MPA to innovate more 5G use cases in a live environment. By bringing together the strong domain expertise of both M1 and Airbus, this partnership serves as a real test bed for shaping the future of Urban Air Mobility technologies by utilizing advanced 5G SA network. We are also excited to partner with a local company TeamOne, for the development of a tailor-made 5G SA communication modem that meets the stringent technical specifications required for Unmanned Aircraft System operations,” said Mr Manjot Singh Mann, Chief Executive Officer, M1.

“Singapore continues to forge ahead with our efforts for 5G innovation in support of the nation’s Digital Economy. We believe that 5G will sharpen Singapore’s competitive advantage as a key trading and connectivity hub in the region and beyond. IMDA is pleased to see tremendous interest by companies to develop innovative 5G use-cases. It is especially encouraging to see SMEs such as TeamOne playing a role in 5G innovation, and I would like to encourage other enterprises big and small to join us in building an open and inclusive 5G ecosystem,” said Mr Tan Kiat How, Chief Executive, IMDA.

“Given the growing need to create more efficient and sustainable solutions for the maritime industry, MPA supported the world’s first ship-to-shore drone delivery trial by Airbus and Wilhelmsen last year. We look forward to deepening the collaboration with Airbus and M1 to pilot innovative use cases for 5G technology in the maritime industry,” said Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA.

“We are excited to partner with M1, IMDA and MPA to accelerate the development and adoption of UAM and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM). This collaboration will establish key cellular 5G performance metrics and requirements to enable UAS to safely integrate and fly in national airspace systems. We look forward to combining our aerospace and UTM knowledge with M1’s technical expertise in the cellular industry, to enable the next age of aviation,” said Isabel Del Pozo De Poza, Head of UTM, Airbus.

 


JOINTLY ISSUED BY THE INFO-COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, M1 AND THE MARITIME AND PORT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MPA)


About Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) leads Singapore’s digital transformation with infocomm media. To do this, IMDA will develop a dynamic digital economy and a cohesive digital society, driven by an exceptional infocomm media (ICM) ecosystem – by developing talent, strengthening business capabilities, and enhancing Singapore's ICM infrastructure. IMDA also regulates the telecommunications and media sectors to safeguard consumer interests while fostering a pro-business environment, and enhances Singapore’s data protection regime through the Personal Data Protection Commission.

For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg or follow IMDA on Facebook IMDAsg and Twitter @IMDAsg.

About M1

M1, a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation, is Singapore’s most vibrant and dynamic communications company, providing mobile and fixed services to over two million customers. Since the launch of commercial services in 1997, M1 has achieved many firsts, including the first operator to offer nationwide 4G service, as well as ultra high-speed fixed broadband, fixed voice and other services on the Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (NGNBN). With a continual focus on network quality, customer service, value and innovation, M1 links anyone and anything; anytime, anywhere. For more information, visit www.m1.com.sg.

About Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) was established on 2 February 1996, with the mission to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre (IMC), and to advance and safeguard Singapore's strategic maritime interests. MPA is the driving force behind Singapore's port and maritime development, taking on the roles of Port Authority, Port Regulator, Port Planner, IMC Champion, and National Maritime Representative. MPA partners the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.


For media clarifications, please contact:
Aung Thi Ha
IMDA, Communications and Marketing
Manager
aung_thi_ha@imda.gov.sg
+65 9338 2594

Ken Ng 
M1, Corporate Communications
Senior Executive 
ngcj@m1.com.sg
+65 9699 0133

Serene Liu
MPA, Corporate Communications
Senior Manager
Serene_liu@mpa.gov.sg
+65 9824 6525

Belinda Ng
Airbus
Head of External Communications, Asia-Pacific 
(Helicopters and Defence & Space)
belinda.ng@airbus.com
+65 9683 6361

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