Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – The government is looking to develop an amphibious aircraft in the next five years to solve the perennial problem of inter-island transportation in the archipelago, Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said at the International Conference of Transportation Research and Innovation in Jakarta on Wednesday.
"We will develop the N219A amphibian to support tourism, especially diving and surfing. The float plane is capable of reaching small islands in our archipelago. It's not as modern as a Boeing, but it's what we need," Bambang said on Wednesday.
The N219A is currently being developed by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), Dirgantara Indonesia and the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).
Bambang said the government also has three other transportation projects on the pipeline in the next five years: building high-speed commuter trains that are made with 80 percent local components; designing electric vehicles and manufacturing their lithium batteries locally; and building a dual-fuel tug boat that can run on biofuel.
"Fortunately, Indonesia is rich in nickel, so we hope we can make the lithium batteries on our own," Bambang said.
The conference – organized by the Transportation Ministry – showcases the latest researches on transportation innovations that could be applied in Indonesia.
The ministry's head of research and development of intramode transportation, M. Yugihartiman, said the conference was an umbrella forum to discuss medium- and long-term studies on national transportation.
"We also invited industry stakeholders, so good ideas are not stuck at the invention stage. We need commercialization and downstreaming," Yugihartiman said.
The ministry selected 40 papers out of 146 submissions from national and international researchers.
"We need a lot of research to formulate policy recommendations," Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said at the conference opening.