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Feb 26, 2024

Aerodyne Group has joined forces with DroneDash Technologies

TWO companies are working on a trial to send cargo between Singapore and Malaysia using unmanned aircraft that, if successful, could be the world’s first cross-border drone delivery.

Singapore’s DroneDash Technologies and Malaysia’s Aerodyne Group signed an agreement at the Singapore Airshow 2024 on Wednesday (Feb 21) to introduce small-scale commercial deliveries between Singapore and Malaysia (Johor Bahru and Iskandar).

While the effort has not yet received regulatory approval in either country, in a joint statement the companies said that they aim to begin the trial in the third quarter of 2024. DroneDash chief executive officer Paul Yam said that each company is currently in the process of gaining regulatory approval in their respective countries.

Numerous drone delivery trials within countries have been completed, but not international trials across countries.

According to DroneDash, this method of delivery will be four times faster than existing land or sea methods, and emit up to 92 per cent less carbon dioxide. A variety of drones will be used that can carry up to 30 kilograms of cargo, so the delivery service will be focused on smaller shipments with higher value, such as electronics, medical supplies and perishable food.

The drones will take off and land at seaports, due to customs clearance requirements, said Yam. He added that he intends for the deliveries to be autonomous, and that a human pilot will only take over in “exceptional circumstances”.

DroneDash is currently in talks with logistics partners for participation in the trials, though it did not elaborate on specifics.

The exact length of the trial is yet to be determined, but Yam estimates that it will last at least a year or more, with a view to eventually expand to more locations in Malaysia.

“We’ll start with using smaller drones and gradually, as confidence builds, we will move on to larger drones that can fly longer distances and carry more cargo,” said Yam.

In November 2023, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore began working with its regional counterparts on a framework for safety rules and standards to regulate air taxi and drone operations, with the aim of publishing a set of regulatory reference materials by 2025.

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