SINGAPORE — Heron AirBridge announced today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join Inmarsat’s Velaris Partner Network (VPN) to collaboratively develop regulatory and operational frameworks and technologies for the safe management of drones in urban environments and complex airspaces. An MoU signing event was held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre during Drone Asia 2023. Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Sustainability and the Environment, also attended the event as the Guest of Honour (TBC).
With strong Singaporean government support, Heron AirBridge is the first unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) technology company in Southeast Asia to successfully build a UTM system capable of managing multiple drone operators. Since its inception in 2022, the drone technology developer has actively sought collaborations with industry leaders to support Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) deployment in the region. The Velaris Partner Network — an initiative to encourage cooperation using Inmarsat’s Velaris connectivity solution for uncrewed aircraft — presents an excellent opportunity to help shape the operational landscape for commercial UAVs globally.
The new partnership will enable Heron AirBridge and Inmarsat to combine their unique capabilities and showcase how satellite-based technology can support the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into Singapore’s commercial airspace. As part of the memorandum, Inmarsat will provide Heron AirBridge with its low size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) terminals to deliver the secure datalink needed for beyond visible line of sight (BVLOS) drone operations. This signifies the first application of Velaris technology in the Asia Pacific region.
Moreover, in collaboration with the aviation community, the two companies intend to co-develop operational standards, frameworks and technologies that will boost the UAV numbers in Singapore’s airspace and serve as a blueprint for future global roll-out.
“Our partnership with Inmarsat is a major step towards increasing UAV integration into the city’s crowded airspace and updating regulations so that our efforts can be replicated worldwide,” Ryan Lee, CEO and co-founder of Heron AirBridge, said. “Working together, we look to establish Singapore as a world leader in this burgeoning sector, sharing our vision of creating value through the utilisation of low-level airspace globally. Inmarsat was a vital partner in powering the movement with Velaris by ensuring that we are equipped with the core network and datalink capabilities we need to drive UAV integration.”
Joel Klooster, senior vice president of aircraft operations and safety at Inmarsat, added, “Uncrewed aviation is a sector poised for growth. The air vehicles and communications technology are ready, but unlocking their potential hinges on consistent, global regulatory progress. Together with Heron, we are creating a blueprint for the integrated airspace of the future. Leveraging Inmarsat’s Velaris technology, coupled with Heron’s regional domain expertise, will ensure operators of airspace and UAVs have the tools needed to drive regulatory acceptance in the region and beyond.”
The Inmarsat cooperation comes on the back of Heron AirBridge’s recent announcement of a strategic alliance with CWT Aerospace and the Singapore Association of Shipsuppliers and Services to collaborate on maritime drone logistics. More exciting projects are in the pipeline and will be announced shortly, such as a partnership with King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang to support the research and development of UTM concepts and technologies in Thailand.
About Heron AirBridge Pte Ltd
Founded in 2022 Heron AirBridge is a subsidiary of the Heron Technology Group, a cybersecurity and drone technology services provider from Singapore. It is focused on the research and development of cutting-edge Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and drone technology solutions while emphasising safety and security standards across its platforms and services.
The company’s proprietary unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform, AirBridge, was launched in 2021. AirBridge is an operator and OEM-agnostic platform that enables seamless and secure access to the low-altitude airspace for complex beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.
To learn more about Heron AirBridge, please visit: https://heron-technology.com/aviation/
Inmarsat delivers leading, innovative, advanced and exceptionally reliable global, mobile communications across the world — in the air, at sea and on land — that are enabling a new generation of commercial, government and mission-critical services. Inmarsat is powering the digitalisation of the maritime industry, making operations more efficient and safer than ever before. It is driving a new era of inflight passenger services for aviation while ensuring that aircraft can fly with maximum efficiency and safety. Furthermore, Inmarsat is enabling the rapid expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the next wave of world-changing technologies that will underpin the connected society and help build a sustainable future. And now Inmarsat is developing the first-of-its-kind, multi-dimensional communications network of the future, ORCHESTRA.
In November 2021, Inmarsat and Viasat announced the planned combination of the two companies to create a new leader in global communications.
For more information about Inmarsat, please visit: https://www.inmarsat.com/en/index.html
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Chief Commercial Officer and Co-founder of Heron AirBridge