A new sector deal between the aerospace industry and government will put drones at the forefront of change in the UK.
Announced by business secretary Greg Clark, the joint Aerospace Sector Deal sets out to develop the future of flight through next-gen drones, autonomous aircraft and electric planed by 2025.
He went on to say how the multi-million pound package of around £125m of new investment will help the UK industry be a key player internationally, something which Clark thinks a no-deal Brexit could jeopardise.
Speaking at a government event in Bristol, Clark said: “For the past 2 years, I have been engaging with businesses, large and small, up and down the country about our post-Brexit economy. They have been clear and consistent in telling me what is needed to preserve jobs, open up new opportunities and build on the success of our trading relationships.”
He continued: “This will be the test of a successful our long-term economic partnership with the EU. The withdrawal agreement is a significant first step in building our future relationship, while no deal puts this all at risk.”
As part of the deal, the government is launching the Future Flight Challenge, which will provide up to £125 million to aerospace and other manufactures to research and engineer new technologies and infrastructure, which industry will match.
Clark hopes the funding will support the development of electric and autonomous aircraft and transform the future of transport in urban areas to utilise airspace to ease congestion.
The government went on to confirm that industry will initially focus on smaller aircraft and drones to ensure the suitability of the new technologies before developing them for larger passenger aircraft, meaning by 2026, the government and industry will have jointly invested more than £4 billion in the future of UK aerospace.
Supporting the deal, Baroness Sugg, minister for aviation said: “The UK is a global leader in aviation innovation. From urban air mobility vehicles to small electric aircraft and drones, we are already developing exciting new forms of transport.”
She added: “Through the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge and alongside our forthcoming Aviation Strategy, we are exploring how these new technologies will change the way we travel, helping create the right conditions for the UK’s aerospace and drone industries to take off.”