Heron AirBridge, a Southeast Asian producer of unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM), has announced a strategic partnership with King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), a major research and educational institution based in Bangkok, Thailand. The new partnership aims to spearhead the research and development of UTM concepts and technologies in Thailand.
Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the development and integration of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) in North America and Europe. But in Asia Pacific, the adoption of unmanned aircraft has been relatively slow, especially in Southeast Asia. Thailand, for instance, has yet to take on that project despite operating some of the busiest international airports in the region and facing serious airspace congestion issues. It is anticipated that massive potential exists for AAM in this market.
To accelerate the deployment of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in Thailand, Heron AirBridge will collaborate with KMITL’s International Academy of Aviation Industry to build up the local Thai expertise and capabilities required for the development of UAS traffic management (UTM) concepts, technologies and services.
Ryan Lee, CEO and co-founder of Heron AirBridge, said, ‘We are proud that such a prestigious institution as KMITL has chosen to work with us. We hope that this partnership will kickstart long-term relationships in Thailand to support them on the Thailand 4.0 journey, where UAS can contribute significantly to increasing economic prosperity, improving social well-being, raising human values and protecting the environment.’
Under the agreement, the partnership will introduce and promote UTM services, operational concepts and workflows tailored to Thailand’s unique needs. It will highlight the benefits that AAM can bring to the different industries such as logistics, emergency services, agriculture, forestry and energy, to name a few. The long-term goal is to establish a baseline UTM system that can be further customised according to the country’s future requirements.
Assistant Professor Dr. Soemsak Yooyen, the dean of the International Academy of Aviation Industry, added, ‘The partnership with Heron AirBridge marks a significant milestone for us. It will enable us to combine our strengths and expertise to create cutting-edge solutions in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. We believe that this collaboration will open doors of opportunity for research, development and innovation in the aviation industry. We aim to establish a strong foundation for UTM concepts, operational workflows and technologies to pave the way for the future of aviation in Thailand.’
Since its establishment in 2022, Heron AirBridge has been steadily strengthening its presence in Asia as part of its mission to foster the adoption of UAS deployment in Asia and beyond. The KMITL collaboration represents a great opportunity to acquire new knowledge and perform more beyond visual line of sight flight trials, which are currently restricted in Singapore’s tight airspace. The firm hopes that the experience will facilitate more cooperation with neighbouring markets. Countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines can equally benefit from the broader use of UAS as Thailand will. Situated right in the hub of the region, Heron AirBridge can provide strong, localised support in their journey to kickstart their UTM capabilities and solutions.