CAAS and Thales establish joint aviation innovation research lab

The S$30 million lab will play a key role in developing advanced ATM capabilities

- Paris, France.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Thales have announced the establishment of a S$30 million Joint Aviation Innovation Research (AIR) Lab in Singapore to drive innovation in new air traffic management (ATM) technologies. The agreement to establish the AIR Lab was signed between Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS, and Mr Jean Ferré, Vice-President Air Traffic Management, Thales on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Innovation Fair in Montreal. 

The AIR Lab will focus on the development of an Open ATM System architecture minimum viable product as its immediate priority. This project will be a key enabler for CAAS’s next-generation ATM system. Through the AIR Lab, Thales will be increasing its level of investments into ATM-related research in Singapore by bringing in domain experts and hiring software engineers, system engineers and integrators. Supported by the Aviation Transformation Programme (ATP)1 , which seeks to develop innovative ATM solutions for Singapore, the AIR Lab will also provide a platform for multiple stakeholders, including Singapore enterprises with complementary capabilities, to collaborate on these new technologies and develop corresponding prototypes.

The AIR Lab builds on the deep partnership and collaboration between CAAS and Thales. In February 2018, the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on developing new Concepts of Operations for ATM as well as the next generation of digital ATM technologies. In March this year, a follow-up agreement was signed at the World ATM Congress in Madrid to conduct research and development for an Open ATM System architecture2 .

Mr Kevin Shum, Director-General, CAAS, said, “CAAS is constantly looking ahead and ensuring that we are future-ready. The solutions developed by the Lab will enable CAAS to manage the increasingly complex ATM operations in one of the busiest and most complex airspaces in the world. By bringing together key stakeholders in the ATM ecosystem and providing access through an open platform, the AIR Lab will also play a key role in deepening Singapore’s expertise in ATM.” 

“The AIR Lab is the first of its kind for Thales in Asia and will allow us to pioneer new technologies with CAAS in the digital aviation field. It serves as a great tool for Thales to tap on and develop expertise to Singapore’s ATM and ANSP ecosystem, while working in close partnership with CAAS and other complementary partners to build capabilities for the future,” said Mr Jean Ferré, Vice-President, Air Traffic Management, Thales. 6 The AIR Lab is expected to be launched in early 2020 and established for an initial period of three years. The AIR Lab will be co-located with the Thales Digital Factory in Singapore to draw synergies between the two facilities.

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