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Airbus opens commercial drone services in Asia-Pacific

Bernard Leong appointed Head of Airbus Aerial Asia

Airbus has launched the Asia-Pacific operations of its “Airbus Aerial” (AA) commercial drone services at the "Singapore Airshow 2018". The newly established regional base of Airbus Aerial adds to two existing hubs based in Atlanta, US and Munich, Germany.

 Initially focussing on the development of new imagery services, AA leverages the latest software and aerospace technologies to provide actionable data and analysis of information provided by drones, satellites, high altitude aircraft and other sources. With its imagery services, AA targets a range of applications for industries such as insurance, agriculture, oil and gas and utilities, as well as state and local governments. 

During its first year in operation, AAplayed a critical role in the US, helping several major insurance companies assess damage and process claims faster than ever before. These results were achieved by providing before-and-after satellite imagery of affected areas and real-time imagery collected by drones during fly-overs. These images were then blended with proprietary Airbus data analytics to help insurers assess damage and prioritise resources. 

These initial services were provided in 2017, following Hurricane "Harvey" in the Houston, Texas area and Hurricane "Irma" in southern Florida and, more recently, after the devastating wildfires in California. 

The Asia-Pacific base of AA is led by Bernard Leong, who joined Airbus in January 2018. Previously, he was Head of Post Office Network and Digital Services at Singapore Post, with an extensive business and technology management background, including drone delivery and autonomous vehicles within the Asia-Pacific markets. 

The first target of the Singapore team will be to explore potential within the Asian regional insurance market and extend Airbus Aerial’s footprint from the US and Europe to the Asia Pacific region. It will gather information to provide relief and recovery in disaster prone regions with dedicated disaster management support, and also identify local possibilities including agriculture, critical infrastructure monitoring like power lines and railroad, and oil and gas mining where the business model may fit. 

Airbus Aerial Asia also aims in the next years to offer cargo drone services with autonomous logistic systems, applying the principle of supporting an open ecosystem while seeking strong partnerships with technology providers and drone operators in the Asian region.

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