Nine UK organisations have today announced The Airspace of the Future (AoF) Consortium, which comprises Thales, Cranfield University, Cranfield Airport Operations, Inmarsat, Altitude Angel, Ocado Group, Blue Bear, Satellite Applications Catapult, and Connected Places Catapult. The group, which will work to integrate drone services within the wider UK transport ecosystem, has been formed in response to UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Future Flight Challenge (FFC).
The FFC supports the development of new technologies in the UK, including freight-carrying drones, urban air vehicles, and hybrid-electric regional aircraft. It is funded by £125 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which is, in turn, expected to be matched by up to £175 million from industry. Through advances in electric and autonomous flight technology, it will increase mobility and reduce road congestion, improve connectivity, scale up UK manufacturing opportunities, and help reduce the environmental impact of aviation across the globe.