Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest aerospace and defence event, takes place from 6 - 11 February 2018. Find here the latest news of French presence at Singapore Airshow 2018 and follow us on Twitter for more updates!
Airbus has produced a unique drone for Skyways, designed to meet the safety requirements developed with the CAAS.
Singapore is striving to become a “smart nation” by embracing potentially disruptive technologies in all areas of daily life. These include driverless cars, delivery drones and autonomous air taxis, which could transform how people and goods move around this bustling city-state.
To explore how delivery drones could be used, Singapore turned to an experienced system integrator, Airbus. In February 2016, Airbus Helicopters signed a contract with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to test a drone parcel delivery service on the campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS). Demonstration of the Skyways system will begin in the first half of this year.
Rather than a demo of delivering fast food to homes in rural Australia, or online purchases to customers in the English countryside, Skyways is an integrated service that will involve drones flying overhead, autonomously shuttling packages between stations on the NUS campus. If successful, the system could be extended outside of the university to service ships anchored in the Port of Singapore.
“We decided to get into this because we wanted to explore how drones could be used to autonomously deliver items, especially in dense urban environments,” says Leo Jeoh, design office head at Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia. “What that means is addressing regulatory, technological and operational requirements more from an aeronautical perspective than from a consumer perspective.”
A station-to-station delivery system has been designed for the NUS campus. A customer will take her package to a parcel station where she will enter its destination at a kiosk. A robotic arm will load the package onto the drone, which will launch and fly autonomously via an air corridor to the selected delivery station.
On landing, the package will drop onto the robot arm, which will place it in the appropriate parcel locker and the system will notify the recipient his package is ready for collection.
The Skyways drone is an octocopter, designed to carry a payload of 2-4 kg (4.4-8.8 lb.). Unusually for a small drone, critical systems are fully redundant. “In terms of safety, first and foremost is the redundancy we have in the system,” Jeoh says. If one system fails, the drone can continue to operate, “but until we build confidence, if there is an anomaly, we ask it to land at the nearest prepared station.”
For safety, the drone has multiple self-navigation systems. In addition to GPS, there is non-GPS precision localization system at each delivery station. Developed by Airbus Defense and Space, this corrects the drone’s positioning every time it approaches a delivery station.
Drones will launch and land autonomously, as parcels enter the system, but will be monitored from an operations center. “We have system operators who are there to make sure everything is clean and clear, until we can really gain the confidence of all stakeholders that we can do this fully autonomously,” Jeoh says. “If anything goes wrong, they can take emergency action.”
Airbus so far has built two prototypes of the Skyways drone, which have been flight tested in France and Singapore. The equipment for the trial service is now being installed at NUS. “Once we have enough data from that initial use case, if everything pans out, we would want to expand into other areas and more stations,” says Jeoh.
Orolia and Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) have begun work to develop a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the A320 family of aircraft to retrofit the GADSS-compliant Kannad ELT-DT as part of the European Commission's H2020 HELIOS project.
Both Orolia and AFI KLM E&M are members of the European Commission's industry-led HELIOSproject — part of the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme — tasked to lead the development of next-generation search and rescue distress beacons that meet the upcoming implementation of ICAO Global Aeronautical Distress & Safety System (GADSS) recommendations.
The STC, expected to be available in 2019, will allow airlines to retrofit A320 family aircraft with the new Kannad ELT-DT, a global, autonomous tracking beacon that provides air traffic managers with precise aircraft location information in distress flight situations. The GADSS-compliant system will provide detailed aircraft position information as soon as a distress situation is detected during flight, ensuring no aircraft is ever "lost".
The HELIOS-led STC project will address the process of retrofitting in-service aircraft, enabling operators to upgrade their ELT system on their current fleet. Under this part of the program, AFI KLM E&M is responsible for system integration of ELT-DT technology, developed by Orolia, HELIOS project lead.
The GADSS requirement was adopted by ICAO early 2016 in response to several recent, highly publicized incidents where downed aircraft could not be located at all, or only after long and expensive search efforts. Its goals are to provide autonomous, global tracking of commercial flights, regardless of operating conditions, and to speed rescue operations should a flight require assistance. The GADSS regulation will be applicable to most new commercial aircraft delivered after January 1, 2021.
Orolia, through its Kannad brand, announced at the Paris Air Show last year the GADSS-compliant Kannad ELT-DT, or Emergency Locator Transmitter-Distress Tracking beacon. The Kannad beacon will automatically activate should the aircraft depart from its pre-programmed flight profile or other flight parameters. Working alongside MEOSAR technology, it provides instantaneous signal detection and worldwide coverage, helping rescue teams quickly locate the aircraft.
Traffic congestion is one of the most prevalent and frustrating characteristics associated with major cities. Despite being known as the "Garden City," Singapore has one of the highest road densities of developed nations with 4.8km of road for each square kilometre of land. Singapore also has one of the highest ratios of vehicles per kilometre of road at 232. This is significantly higher than Japan (63), France (39), the United Kingdom (77) and the United States (37).
Even though the country has put in place a range of incentives and constraints to limit the impact cars have on the city-state with a system of quotas, registration fees, and congestion charges, traffic congestion still remains a major concern. And as the city gears up, once again, to host the Singapore Airshow, Asia's largest aerospace and defence event on Feb 6 to 11, 2018, one area of interest bound to be on everyone's minds is urban mobility.
Airbus, a major participant of the air show every year, announced it is planning to feature its Urban Aerial Mobility (UAM) technology -- more commonly known as the flying taxi concept.
Visitors at the Airbus stand will be offered a virtual reality tour in this hotly anticipated solution to road congestion. The CityAirbus or Flying Taxi programme, an intrinsic part of the overall UAM concept, is scheduled for its first test flight at the end of 2018. With an estimated cruising speed of 120 kph (80 mph), it will be a multi-passenger, self-piloted, battery-powered, vertical take-off and landing vehicle intended to carry up to four passengers over congested megacities in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way.
Furthermore, while initially slated to have a pilot onboard, the taxis will switch to fully autonomous operations as and when the host city is ready to go driverless. The flying taxis would be able to skip over city traffic, which could dramatically decrease travel time, entering and exiting busy transit points, alleviating ground congestion and reducing CO2 emissions.
Singapore is as serious about cutting traffic congestion as it is about reducing its CO2 emissions and remaining ahead of the curve when it comes to environmentally-conscious businesses and green technologies. Singapore’s Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat in his Budget 2017 speech included plans to implement a carbon tax from 2019 and adjustments to two vehicle incentive schemes to encourage the use of greener vehicles. Furthermore, in March 2017, the Ministry of Transport also revealed that it was in talks with companies to start trials on flying taxis. This is part of a drive to expand the range of urban mobility options, and Singapore plans to have them ready by 2030.
CityAirbus Programme Head Marius Bebesel said in an interview for this article that wherever Airbus operates its new urban air mobility vehicles they will need to meet government regulations and fit into the local air traffic infrastructure and rules concerning routes, altitudes and speed. “We are discussing such requirements with authorities in several countries, including Singapore,” he said. Furthermore, when asked about the price tag of these flying taxis and the infrastructure requirements, he answered that they "will be cheaper than a conventional helicopter both in terms of acquisition and operation, and any city using our flying taxis will need to build dedicated vertiports for take-off and landing as well as ground stations to control the vehicles.”
Additionally, with artificial intelligence (AI) replacing the traditional human driver, concerns have arose that autonomous buses and flying taxis could be exploited through malicious attacks and weaponized. Airbus is aware of this growing risk, according to Bebesel, and "actively dealing with this aspect of safety on all levels." Ultimately, Airbus believes that its Flying Taxis will revolutionize urban travel for millions of people.
“In a not too distant future, we'll use our phones to book a fully automated flying taxi that will fly us from the city to the airport – without any pilot."
And Airbus isn't the only company developing flying taxis. Uber has signed a deal with NASA to help develop traffic systems for its flying car project, which it hopes to start testing in 2020, while Dubai just saw the maiden trial of a two-seated, 18-rotor taxi prototype built by the German company Volocopter. Nevertheless, Airbus benefits from a close relationship with Singapore dating back to the mid-1970s, with the company supplying Singapore Airlines and Silkair with Airbus jetliners, from the A320 to the A380. It seems likely that Airbus’ Flying Taxis may soon be buzzing over the Lion City.
Take a glimpse at what the future may hold.
The group hopes to reinforce its position on satellites in Asia, and the share of sales from the Asian region, thanks to its know-how in lightweight power distribution systems. Special efforts are being made to attract new recruits for the group's ex
After opening a technical office in Singapore in March 2017, the French group Axon’ Cable(French Pavilion, Booth F18) has already made the decision to strengthen its position in Singapore and in the ASEAN zone with the creation of a subsidiary in January 2018. The company, which had been represented by its agent for 20 years, aims at improving the sales and technical support to customers mainly in aeronautics, defence and space.
Axon' Cable chairman Joseph Puzo explains that the decision came in response to rising demand for the company's services, prompting the move to create a subsidiary earlier than planned and well in advance of the three-year deadline imposed by Singapore for the maximum duration of a technical office. From the Singapore base, which constitutes a hub for the company's activities, Puzo notes that they will be able to serve countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
Axon Cable — headquartered in Montmirail, 100km east of Paris — is a specialist in cabling, interconnect solutions, cable assemblies, connectors and mini systems for high-tech applications. It already has three other subsidiaries in the region, located in Japan, China and Hong Kong. This network could be reinforced with the creation of a marketing and technical office in Australia, as the group seeks to support Tier One customers like Airbus, Safran, Thales and Dassault.
This series of moves is likely to increase Asia's contribution to the group's activities. In 2017, 20% of the group's total sales (€140m) came from Asia. Puzo would like to boost this share to one-third, in order to achieve a balance with Europe and the Americas.
One of the main paths towards achieving this goal will be to convince an increasing number of Asian customers to equip their telecommunication satellites with the company's reduced-weight bus bars for electrical power distribution. The group hopes to achieve an increased competitive advantage thanks to technology inputs from Isa Suisse. This Franco-Swiss firm — an expert in cutting, injection and assembling micro and nano-technologies, thanks to its original core business in the design and manufacture of miniature watch parts — was acquired by Axon' Cables in early 2017 after filing for bankruptcy.
Renamed Axon Nanotech, the company already has 20 more employees than it had when it was bought out. It is now focused on the space sector and the pursuit of weight savings in satellite components. Puzo explains that the company is currently looking to create a new line of lightweight connectors for future satellite applications. He says the first prototypes could be ready in three or four years and could offer additional weight savings of 10-30%.
The company says it has no further external growth plans at this stage. The organic growth target is around 7% per year for the coming years. Investment plans, including extrusion machines and numerical control machines, are set to increase at a similar pace.
The company is already equipped with additive manufacturing capability. This technology is mostly used to produce plastic and metallic prototypes and, to a lesser extent, for connectors produced in small batches.
The group's workforce has broken through the 2,000 mark for the first time following the recruitment of 200 people last year, including 100 outside France. Hiring is expected to continue at the same pace. The company is looking for around 20 additional engineers in France. The group has introduced specific measures to attract younger recruits, including paid internships and an offer of low-priced accommodation for young recruits. Axon Cable also offers one-week immersion programmes for secondary school students, the most recent of which was organised at the end of January.
Airbus has selected Thales as its subcontractor in the Asia-Pacific region (except mainland China) for the component repair of all avionics designed and manufactured by Airbus. The scope of the contract covers repairs of Airbus avionics components installed on all Airbus single aisle and long-range aircraft, as well as its A350 fleet, throughout Asia-Pacific, for the next seven years.
All repairs will be carried out from the Thales regional maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) hub in Singapore. This hub has long been the Asia-Pacific nerve centre for Thales’s own MRO network of 3 repair hubs and 22 repair centres across the world, and was expanded in 2017 to accommodate for a huge increase in scope of work.
This latest contract effectively makes Singapore the largest of the group’s three global repair hubs, with an estimated 40,000 pieces of equipment a year passing through its facility in Changi North Rise. The group's other two avionics repair sites are located in Chatellerault, France and Piscataway, USA.
Thales in Singapore also produces key systems for the Airbus A320, A350 and Boeing 787 fleets. Since January 2017, Thales has also provided repair operations and supported a Customer Support Centre (CSC) for Diehl Aerospace’s Singaporean subsidiary, serving Diehl’s regional customers, underscoring the strategic location of Singapore as an aerospace hub for the region.
Dassault Aviation will feature its new flagship, the Falcon 8X, at this year’s Singapore Airshow, the largest aerospace and defence show in the Asia Pacific region. It will be the first appearance of the ultra-long range Falcon 8X at the six day event, which runs from February 6-11 at Changi Airport.
The 8X will be presented alongside a Falcon 2000LXS twinjet. All Falcons, and in particular late generation models like the Falcon 8X and 2000LXS, draw on Dassault’s extensive experience with combat aircraft – a heritage unique among business jet manufacturers. Falcons and fighters are designed by the same engineering teams and built on the same production lines to the same exacting quality standards. Falcons also benefit from the advances in aerodynamics, structural design, digital flight control and the man-machine interface conceived for Rafale fighters, keeping them on the cutting edge of executive aircraft technology.
The exceptional flexibility, operating economy and comfort of Falcon business jets make them ideal for a region that is known for its many small hard to reach airfields. Currently, over 90 Falcons are based in the Asia Pacific region, half of them late generation models. The fleet includes all current production Falcons -- the Falcon 8X, 7X, 900LX, 2000LXS and 2000S -- as well as legacy models.
Falcon 8X Performance Ideal for the Asia Pacific
The first Falcon 8X was delivered to the Far East last fall and the 6,450 nm /11,945 km range trijet is now operating in all major business markets, including the US, Brazil, Europe, Russia and the Middle East. And thanks to the high level of maturity of its onboard systems, its market introduction has been incredibly smooth.
Operational capability has been further reinforced with recent approvals to fly in severe crosswind conditions and to operate at London City Airport, one of the world’s most restrictive airports. Feedback from operators has been extremely positive, in particular with regard to cabin comfort, flying stability and cabin sound level -- the best in the industry.
The Falcon 8X’s ultra-spacious 13 meter (42 ft 8 in) long cabin, combined with its range and a level of fuel efficiency and short-field performance unmatched for an aircraft of this size, make the aircraft ideal for the Asia Pacific.
Operators have an extensive selection of passenger seating areas of varying lengths capable of supporting different galley and lavatory layouts including a shower option. Three galley sizes are available, including a forward lounge bar that can be easily converted into a certified crew rest for very long flights.