Singapore exploring feasibility of piloted eVTOL trial as it eyes the growing global market

SINGAPORE is exploring the feasibility of a piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) trial, as it eyes a slice of the growing global market for these vehicles, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday (Feb 14).

This comes as Singapore is looking to grow the advanced air mobility community at Seletar Aerospace Park, Heng said during the opening ceremony of the Singapore Airshow 2022 held at Marina Bay Sands.

The plan is to create an “enabling ecosystem” for a wide range of activities including research and development, commercialisation, manufacturing and eventually, maintenance, repair and operations (MRO), he said.

“To give a boost to this nascent industry, we are exploring the feasibility of the first piloted eVTOL trial in Singapore, possibly along the Greater Southern Waterfront,” Heng said.

He added that the government will be working closely with industry partners such as Volocopter and Skyports to develop use cases and operating frameworks.

Meanwhile, plans are also afoot to grow Seletar Aerospace Park into a leading aerospace industrial park in the region.

Heng said the government expects to complete construction of aeroSpace Three at the park.

He noted that it will provide aerospace companies with “plug and play” smart factory solutions for advanced aerospace manufacturing and MRO activities, adding that there is “good demand” for such customisable spaces.

These are part of Singapore’s plans to grow the aviation and aerospace sectors, Heng said, as he outlined Singapore’s vision in both the immediate and long term.

At the moment, the government’s focus is to invest in new capabilities and in its workers as it strengthens the path to recovery, he said, adding that this involves wage support as well as training programmes to upskill workers.

“In the coming decade, the flight path will be defined by digitalisation and sustainability. Hence, we must redouble efforts to make these major transitions and unlock new possibilities,” Heng said.

He noted that airports, airlines and the global aerospace industry are seeking to leverage digitalisation to transform their operations and Singapore is no different.

In the area of sustainability, Singapore is now piloting the use of sustainable aviation fuels at Changi Airport, while Finnish oil refinery Neste is expanding its presence in Singapore to produce renewable jet fuel at a commercial scale.

Touching on the next 20 years and beyond, Heng said: “New breakthroughs will reshape aviation and aerospace. We must invest in disruptive innovation today, to be at the forefront of change.”

Besides eVOTL, Heng said another possible gamechanger is autonomous aircraft.

For example, autonomous vehicles can be adopted for aviation, initially to guide and control aircraft and eventually to transport cargo and people autonomously, Heng suggested.

With the Airshow being the largest trade and exhibition show to be held in Singapore since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic 2 years ago, Heng said the event underlines the Republic’s belief in the long-term prospects of the aviation and aerospace sectors.

It also reflects Singapore’s commitment to safely reopen its economy and borders to the rest of the world.



Source Business Times

February 15, 2022