The Infocomm Media Development Authority, M1 Limited and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore have partnered with Airbus 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.