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IMDA, M1, MPA to conduct coastal 5G network trials with Airbus

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The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), M1 and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday said they are partnering Airbus to conduct coastal 5G standalone (SA) network trials.

THE Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), M1 and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday said they are partnering Airbus to conduct coastal 5G standalone (SA) network trials at the Singapore maritime drone estate.

"The findings from these trials will help form a better understanding of evolving 5G standards, their feasibility and requirements for urban air mobility (UAM) applications, and future citywide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations in Singapore's urban and coastal environment," IMDA, M1 and MPA said in a joint statement.

They added that the establishment of a standard will open up the possibility for the safe adoption of 5G as a core technology used in unmanned aircraft designs and operations.

This continues Singapore's efforts to build an open and inclusive 5G innovative ecosystem around the use of port operations, and incident management and response, the parties said.

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

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The latest partnership also comes after the government last year pledged an initial S$40 million to kick-start 5G innovation in Singapore. 

The IMDA had named maritime operations, urban mobility, Industry 4.0 manufacturing and consumer applications as some of the six clusters that will see early adoption trials for 5G.

In addition, M1 will be collaborating with local enterprise TeamOne Technologies to support the development of local capabilities within Singapore's small and medium-sized enterprises.

According to the joint statement, TeamOne aims to design and develop the world's first aeronautical certified 5G SA communication modem for UAM operations. This 5G modem will be tested and optimised during the trials, the parties said.

Besides the coastal trials, M1 and Airbus have also signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct connectivity trials for in-land areas. This will enable M1 and Airbus to address the "growing interest" in unmanned aircraft systems for urban air mobility in other industries, the parties noted.

As a communications company, M1 will provide 4G and 5G network planning. This includes data collection for performance and coverage analysis of mobile network in the operating areas, network parameter optimisation and implementation of interference minimisation methods.

Meanwhile, Airbus will provide a fleet of UAS for safe-flight testing and commit its expertise in the integration of the unmanned aircraft for the trials. It will also ensure that the UAS flight operations meet safety and regulatory requirements, the parties added.

Isabel Del Pozo De Poza, head of UTM, Airbus, said: "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 unmanned traffic management knowledge with M1's technical expertise in the cellular industry, to enable the next age of aviation."

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