In the rapidly evolving technological landscape, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are transcending their traditional roles to become sophisticated tools that enhance commercial and logistical operations across the globe. One of the leaders in this innovative frontier is ST Engineering, a Singapore-based engineering powerhouse, renowned for its diverse capabilities in the aerospace sector. At the forefront of their unmanned systems division is Soo Soon Teong, Senior Vice President and Head of Unmanned Systems, who recently shared his insights with Lorenzo Murzilli, co-founder and CEO of Murzilli Consulting during Amsterdam Drone Week.

With a dedicated team of 70 to 80 professionals, ST Engineering isn’t just manufacturing drones; they are redefining them as integral components of comprehensive solutions, emphasizing safety and artificial intelligence to deliver tangible results to end-users.

About ST Engineering: a global force in technology and engineering

Headquartered in Singapore, ST Engineering has cemented its reputation as a global technology, defense, and engineering group that prioritizes quality, reliability, and trust. This reputation is not just built on the advanced technology it develops but also on the tangible impact these innovations have on improving lives and solving real-world problems.

ST Engineering’s operations span several critical sectors:

  • Aerospace: Keeping aircraft operational and safe, ST Engineering ensures that air travel remains a cornerstone of global connectivity and commerce.
  • Smart City Solutions: By integrating cutting-edge technology into urban environments, the company transforms cities, making them more mobile, secure, and livable for their inhabitants.
  • Digital Solutions and Cybersecurity: From safeguarding digital infrastructures to developing satellite communications, ST Engineering keeps the world connected and secure.
  • Defense and Public Security: The company supports national defense needs with comprehensive solutions across air, land, and sea, enhancing the capabilities of military and security forces worldwide.

With a network that spans Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S., ST Engineering has tailored its solutions to meet the diverse needs of its international clientele. In the United States alone, the company’s reach extends through 52 cities across 21 states, engaging over 7,000 employees dedicated to delivering innovative solutions to both commercial and government sectors.

At the heart of ST Engineering’s mission is the drive to create a sustainable future. The company meets every challenge with innovative responses, ensuring that communities worldwide are better prepared, protected, and connected. Whether it’s through improving urban mobility, enhancing cybersecurity defenses, or contributing to global communications networks, ST Engineering’s efforts are geared towards creating lasting, positive impacts on a global scale.

The success of ST Engineering is powered by its dedicated global workforce, united by a shared commitment to excellence and a vision for the future. This diverse team is the backbone of the company, driven to challenge the status quo, secure essential infrastructures, and change the landscape of modern engineering.

The journey of ST Engineering is not just about where it stands today but also about the rich history that has shaped its present. From its early days to its current status as a leader in global technology and engineering, ST Engineering has continuously evolved, embracing challenges and turning them into opportunities for growth and innovation.

Demonstrating capabilities in Europe

A recent highlight for ST Engineering was its participation in a U-space event at the Port of Rotterdam, where they demonstrated a dual UAV operation designed for package delivery to vessels. This exercise wasn't just a showcase of technological prowess but a testament to the potential of drones to perform complex tasks with minimal human intervention. The operation emphasized autonomous systems that can manage multiple drones, reducing the need for extensive manpower and paving the way for future applications in various industries.

Beyond the Drone: selling comprehensive solutions

For ST Engineering, the drone is merely a vehicle. The real product is the solution it facilitates. This solution includes the UAV Operating System (UAV OS) and a specialized focus on the drone’s operational safety. Soo Soon Teong highlighted that while UAV OS is crucial, it alone does not guarantee the effectiveness and safety of the drone. Hence, their approach combines UAV OS with rigorous safety protocols to ensure the drone performs safely and efficiently in its environment, targeting a safety integrity level up to SAIL IV.

The pursuit of regulatory approval

A significant aspect of deploying UAV technology in Europe involves navigating the complex regulatory environment. Soo Soon mentioned ST Engineering’s familiarity with the Safety Assessment Framework by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and their current efforts to meet the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) standards. This involves achieving SORA (Specific Operational Risk Assessment) SAIL IV operations where compliance with significant safety requirements has to be demonstrated and which enables scaled operations across Europe. .

Strategic partnerships and the European Market

Soo Soon Teong’s presence in Europe is not just about showcasing ST Engineering’s capabilities but also about forging partnerships and understanding the European market’s unique needs. The company is actively engaging with potential partners to define use cases and operational concepts that align with local requirements. Such collaborations could facilitate quicker adaptation to regulatory frameworks and pave the way for ST Engineering’s drones to meet more advanced safety levels, potentially up to Sail V or VI.

BrightCity Smart Water Solution

ST Engineering’s Urban Solutions business proudly launched BrightCity on June 7, 2024, a cutting-edge suite of integrated smart water solutions designed to transform urban water infrastructures. This advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) addresses critical issues like aging systems, inadequate real-time data, and fragmented metering systems that hinder efficiency. BrightCity offers a comprehensive, cost-effective solution suitable for both brownfield and greenfield projects.

Key to BrightCity is the Meter Interface Unit (MIU), which upgrades conventional water meters into smart meters capable of enhanced data collection and accuracy. This allows for real-time insights and empowers utility providers and users to manage water resources more effectively, enhancing sustainability efforts.

The suite also includes a Meter Data Management System (MDMS) for centralized, automated control and monitoring of water meter infrastructures, and a customer portal that provides real-time consumption data to users. BrightCity supports open communication standards like NBIoT/CatM and LoRa to ensure flexibility and avoid vendor lock-in.

BrightCity has been showcased at the American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Expo (ACE2024) in California from June 10-13, 2024, and at the Singapore International Water Week from June 18-22, 2024. This initiative marks a significant advancement in ST Engineering’s commitment to pioneering smart urban infrastructure solutions.

In conclusion, Soo Soon Teong’s insights from Amsterdam Drone Week underscore a pivotal shift in the UAV industry—from selling drones as products to providing comprehensive, safe, and efficient drone-based solutions. As ST Engineering continues to navigate and shape the international UAV landscape, their journey from Singapore to the global stage marks a significant leap towards the future of unmanned systems and their integration into our everyday lives.