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Heron Technology targets extension of UTM services in the region with incorporation of Heron AirBridge

Download: Printable PDF Date: 16 Jan 2023 07:50 (UTC) category:
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Heron Technology targets extension of UTM services in the region with incorporation of Heron AirBridge - Business aviation publisher
Dana Ermolenko
Country: Singapore Aircraft: Drones

Singapore-based digital aviation and cybersecurity solutions provider, Heron Technology, announces the incorporation of Heron AirBridge - the company’s standalone Advanced Air Mobility and drones technology business. The formation of Heron AirBridge reflects the company’s steady progress in the development and testing of its proprietary Unmanned Traffic Management solution, AirBridge, in real-world conditions. The newly formed entity will serve an essential role in enabling the fast-moving AAM industry by developing and providing customised digital platforms on which the industry’s hardware will operate. Through the multi-year course of the AirBridge platform’s development, the company has worked closely with AAM industry partners, regulatory bodies, and Air Navigation Service Providers across the region to design a secure, reliable and tailored solution that will form the bedrock of the AAM industry.

Mr Ryan LEE, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Heron AirBridge commented:  “The aviation industry experienced a slowdown amidst Covid-19 pressures, but talks surrounding the AAM industry remained – owing to the promised potential of AAM to positively impact our current mobility processes and standards. As we approach a revival of the aviation industry in 2023 with impending introduction of unmanned aircraft regulations in the near future, AAM stakeholders need reliable, secure and rigorously tested technology solutions that will enable their aircraft, vertiport infrastructure, and fleet and customer management systems to be realized. 

We are proud to have indigenously developed Singapore’s first UTM system to cater to the region’s unique requirements. Given the enormous potential of AAM to address the growing challenges of population growth, urbanisation and sustainable development in the region, there is a critical need for a digital platform that can support the introduction of more unmanned aerial operations here. We must move ahead in tandem with continued collaboration between stakeholders to develop the systems required. My partners and I firmly believe this is the perfect time to establish Heron AirBridge to provide dedicated focus to ensuring the necessary software solutions are in place to enable this next exciting phase of the industry.”

Established in 2021 after the management buyout of Nova Systems’ Asia business, Heron Technology has led the development of technology solutions to support AAM deployment in the region since unveiling Singapore’s first UTM system in 2021. Over the past year, the system's latest iterations were showcased to a host of regulatory authorities and ANSPs from Europe and across the Asia-Pacific region.

AirBridge – A digital backbone for the AAM ecosystem

In a December 2022 report published by McKinsey1, AAM software development was identified as a key missing piece of the industry, with a predicted spend of up to 30 per cent of the industry’s total value by 2030. The same report estimates that more than 50 functions need to be performed by AAM digital platforms, all of which need to be tailored for differing aircraft, evolving business models, geographies and regulatory frameworks.

Serving this critical gap in the AAM market, Heron AirBridge’s businesses comprises the AirBridge drone mission and UTM platform, as well as a full suite of technological support services for UTM integration and operations, vertiport digital infrastructure services and complex drone-enabled services. The platform’s features will be continually expanded to meet the evolving needs of the AAM and drone services industries, with customisation based on customer requirements as well the capability to integrate third party applications for an all-in-one ready-to-deploy platform.

Singapore as the launchpad for AAM across the region

With Singapore as a front running AAM adopter amongst other first movers such as France, the UK, and Japan, the maturation of regulatory frameworks is a priority. Heron AirBridge is working closely with local authorities and regulatory bodies to develop the technologies and regulatory frameworks necessary for safe and effective AAM deployment. These government authorities include EnterpriseSG and regional transport and aviation authorities.

Ms Anne HO, Director of Advanced Manufacturing, EnterpriseSG said: “Advanced Air Mobility is an emerging growth area that has been identified as part of the Aerospace Industry Transformation Map (ITM) 2025. EnterpriseSG is pleased to support Heron Airbridge, a homegrown company offering proprietary Unmanned Traffic Management solutions, on its innovation and growth journey.”

The runway for 2023

With the support of EnterpriseSG, Heron Airbridge will further its work in developing and advancing enabling technologies for the drones and AAM sectors. The company aims to develop the AirBridge platform further to support a range of industry applications and OEMs including vertiport and drone logistics operations, expand into other markets and accelerate the company’s work with 3 end-users. Heron Airbridge will also be working towards ISO27001:2013 certification to strengthen and validate the cyber security of Airbridge.

Concurrently, Heron AirBridge will continue its work in regulatory development and the integration of drones into each locality’s shared airspace with its partners, with a focus on Asia-Pacific and Europe. To raise the standards for global AAM technology solutions, Heron AirBridge is committed to gaining certification by EASA to provide U-Space2 services in Europe, after the U-Space regulation framework comes into force in January 2023.

Heron AirBridge will mark its first appearance in a global conference at Airspace World 2023 from 8 to 10 March 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland. At the event expo, the company will showcase its AirBridge platform and the latest technology capabilities in the air traffic management industry.



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